Creating Indianapolis Colts' Free-Agency Fallback Plan
Free agency starts Tuesday, and the Indianapolis Colts are expected to be major players. We've talked a lot over the last week about the different rumors and what to expect from the team come Tuesday afternoon.
But what if their plans don't work out? What if other teams outbid the Colts for their top free-agent targets, and GM Ryan Grigson, coach Chuck Pagano and the Colts players can't woo them to Indianapolis?
Well, then, you need a backup plan.
That's what this is, a potential backup plan if what we perceive as their top plans don't occur.
Plan A: Vontae Davis
Plan B: Tarell Brown
It's long been understood that the Colts and Vontae Davis both wished to get a deal done. While it still could happen, reports are now emerging that Davis has been speaking to other teams and is nearing a deal with somebody other than the Colts, per Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.
If Davis falls through, the Colts need to find another corner who can play press-man coverage. There are only a few options left in free agency that fit the bill, namely Aqib Talib and Tarell Brown. Brown doesn't have the upside Talib does, but he's a solid corner without being a headcase, and he should be a semi-cheap option.
However, there may be another path. According to Jarrett Bell of USA Today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are contemplating parting with Darrelle Revis if he will not take a restructured deal. Revis may be either traded or released. Revis would be a huge upgrade at corner, and the Colts should be inquiring about the talented corner. He would be expensive, but he's one of the top two corners in the league.
UPDATE: The Colts have signed Vontae Davis to a four-year deal worth $39 million with $20 million guaranteed.
Plan A: Arthur Jones
Plan B: Antonio Smith
The Colts' reported interest in Arthur Jones, per Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star, makes sense, considering his history with Pagano. Jones is a fantastic run-stopper, at age 27, and would be a potential replacement for Cory Redding, who has one year left on his contract.
Now, Antonio Smith would be a very different type of signing. On one hand, Smith is a great talent, especially at rushing the passer. Smith received Pro Football Focus' (subscription required) fifth-best grade in pass rush for a 3-4 defensive end last season and would be a noticeable boost to the Colts' pass rush, which is practically nonexistent outside of LB Robert Mathis.
But, Smith is 33 and will likely slow down quickly from here on out. He would be a rotational player with a short shelf life.
UPDATE: Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun is reporting that the Colts will sign Jones to a contract averaging $6-7 million per year soon.
Plan A: ???
Plan B: Linval Joseph, Cam Thomas
Joseph played a 4-3 tackle in the Giants system but has the size and run-stopping ability to be a two-down nose tackle for Indianapolis, especially with him rotating with Josh Chapman. Joseph has three years of starting experience as well.
Thomas, on the other hand, doesn't have much starting experience and isn't as good of a player as Joseph, but he has more experience as a true nose tackle.
Plan A: Eric Decker
Plan B: Hakeem Nicks
The Colts' interest in Eric Decker, according to Vic Lombardi of CBS4, has been much-discussed at this point, and Indianapolis seems to be the most likely destination for the wide receiver.
Personally, I think Golden Tate would be the best option here, but Decker seems to be the direction Indianapolis wants to go. If Ryan Grigson does deem Decker too expensive, Hakeem Nicks is one option who would cost less but still have some upside as Reggie Wayne insurance.
Nicks wants to come to Indianapolis, according to his interview with ESPN's Josina Anderson (via Chris Wesseling of NFL.com), and the Colts need veteran reliability. Again, it's not my—or the Colts'—ideal scenario, but it's a possibility.
Plan A: Evan Dietrich-Smith
Plan B: Jonathan Goodwin
The Colts need to replace Samson Satele, but who is the best option to do so?
In terms of talent, Green Bay's Evan Dietrich-Smith is the best center left on the market. He should be the Colts' first target, but he's sure to get multiple offers.
A secondary option could be San Francisco's Jonathan Goodwin. Goodwin would be a stop-gap solution at center. He's an average starter, and is 35, but he could bring some stability to the line for a year—two at most—as the Colts groom Khaled Holmes or search for a long-term solution. Goodwin is a very good run-blocker, although his pass protection can be inconsistent.