Although free agency started a few months ago in the NFL, the Indianapolis Colts have remained eerily quiet; this shouldn’t surprise most Colts fans. Although they did decide to release Marvin Harrison and re-sign Jeff Saturday during the off-season, Colts fans know from experience not to expect any big name free agents to come their way.
No one was surprised that Harrison was released. Out of respect for him, management did try to talk him out it, but it was mutually agreed upon that he would move on. What may be more surprising is there were not many (at least at this point) NFL teams interested in picking him up.
Steven A. Smith, on ESPN radio said a few months ago he thought Harrison would be a perfect fit for the Philadelphia Eagles and their offense because they needed a big time receiver. But at 35, how effective can Harrison be at this point in his career as a primary receiver? The release of Harrison freed up some cap room for the Colts to go after a defensive player or two which they need badly. The Colts need a run stopper to go along with Dwight Freeney and Bob Sanders. Maybe the drafting of Fili Moala, a defensive tackle from Southern Cal, will do the trick. Moala was first team All Pac-10 last season and was a third team All-American. Many NFL experts think the Colts got a steal by getting Moala in the second round.
The biggest move thus far is the re-signing of Jeff Saturday for a reported three-year contract worth $13 million dollars. Next probably only to Peyton Manning, the second most important player on offense is Saturday. He is the anchor of that offensive line which at times struggled without his leadership. He missed four games around the beginning of last season. How important is he? With him Peyton Manning’s quarterback rating was 98.1, without Saturday it was 86.3. With him, the Colts offense scored 25 points a game, without him only 19 points a game.
When he came back, Manning and the offense found their rhythm and went on a winning streak. That’s how important Jeff Saturday is to the Colts. They couldn’t afford to let him go.
Colts management normally likes to spend their money on the players they have and build their talent through the draft. Though that might be unusual for most teams, that formula has brought much success to this franchise.