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LaRon Landry Lands in Indianapolis to Continue Makeover of Colts Secondary

La Ron Landry won't be hitting Andrew Luck this year, so that's a plus for the Colts.
La Ron Landry won't be hitting Andrew Luck this year, so that's a plus for the Colts.Nick Laham/Getty Images
Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistMarch 14, 2013

The 2012 Indianapolis Colts had arguably the worst pass defense in football.

The 2013 Colts should be better than that.

With yet another high-profile signing, Ryan Grigson has remade the back end of one of the NFL's worst defenses.

Grigson commented via direct press release that the team had secured Landry, 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.

Details of the contract reveal the Pro-Bowl safety didn't come cheap. Mike Wilkening of Pro Football Talk says the deal included $14 million in guaranteed money.

Landry is as famous for his ripped physique as he is for his play on the field. Recent honors aside, Landry was a disappointment in Washington before playing for the Jets for a single season. He finally put together another healthy season and played the best football of his life, forcing four fumbles and two interceptions.

Landry will serve as a monumental upgrade to Tom Zbikowski, who was a plague on the Indianapolis run defense, taking more bad angles than Anthony Crispino.

Landry represents the yin and yang of free agency for the Colts. He is almost assuredly not worth anywhere near what the Colts had to pay to get him. They've shelled out a lot of money for average players in recent days.

On the other hand, those average players are replacing some of the worst players in the league at their positions. There's an almost zero chance Landry doesn't provide a significant upgrade to Zbikowski. A starting secondary of Landry, Antoine Bethea, Vontae Davis and Greg Toler won't set the world on fire, but considering Indy ran the likes of Cassius Vaughn out there for 16 games, they clearly upgraded the talent.

The odds are strong no more than one or two of the deals made in recent days will pay off for the Colts, but even if some of the signings don't quite work out, the new Colts can't possibly be any worse than the old Colts.

Grigson was given a mission to upgrade his roster. He's done that. Given the backward steps taken by the division-rival Houston Texans since the end of the 2012 league year Tuesday, the Colts have to be considered at least co-favorites in the AFC South.

The danger in free agency is for a team close to maxed out cap-wise to overspend for that one last piece. The Colts clearly haven't done that. They had ample room to work with and enough glaring problems that fans should be able to see real improvement in 2013.

With the possible exception of Erik Walden's replacement of Dwight Freeney, every player the Colts signed was a clear upgrade to the player he replaced.

Given the cap room and and Jim Irsay's deep pockets, the Colts probably aren't even finished yet.

With needs at guard, defensive tackle and wide receiver, Grigson still has plenty of work to do.


All quotes courtesy of the Indianapolis Colts PR department via direct press release.

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