LaRon Landry represents a major upgrade at the strong safety position for Indianapolis.
It is reported to be a four-year, $24 million deal, including $14 million in guarantees, as verified by Rich Cimini's ESPN news release.
Colts GM Ryan Grigson was quoted by the same report as saying:
We're ecstatic about this signing. We feel LaRon is an absolute game changer and a true impact player. We're talking about a 220-pound safety that runs 4.3 and plays to that speed. His approach to the game and his style of play are lights out and embody the culture we're building on the defense and this team in general.
Coming into the 2013 NFL offseason, the Colts' need for a solid strong safety became more apparent as 2012 signee Tom Zbikowski didn't have the coverage skills needed to help atone for Indy's 3,788 passing yards allowed in 2012, good for only 21st in the league. The Colts didn't fare any better in run defense, either, finishing up at 29th with 2,200 rushing yards allowed.
In addition, the Colts only had 13 interceptions in 2012, with only one of them courtesy of a safety (Zbikowski). Joe Lefeged filled in amiably for Zbikowski who missed the last five games of 2012 with a knee injury. In spite of this, someone has to step up in helping shore up the Colts defense.
Landry, who played for the New York Jets last season, enjoyed his first-ever Pro Bowl stint in 2013 after establishing new career highs of 100 combined tackles and four forced fumbles. To top it all off, he also had two interceptions, eight pass deflections and his first career touchdown which he scored after picking off Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill in Week 3.
Is LaRon Landry the answer at strong safety for the Colts?
Landry became a free agent after playing out his one-year contract with the Jets valued at $3.5 million.
The biggest concerns Colts fans have about him are his health issues—he missed 15 games from 2010-11 due to Achilles, hamstring and groin injuries.
So far, his stellar play and the fact that he played all 16 games for the Jets in 2012 are downplaying those concerns. Indianapolis finally has a strong safety in the mold of Bob Sanders, considered by many to be one of the hardest-hitting players ever to don a Colts uniform.
With Landry and new cornerback Greg Toler in tow, expect an immediate upgrade in defense for Indianapolis as its quest for a deeper run in the playoffs continues.