Bill Kostroun/Associated Press
A big element to judging success in free agency is by looking at the outflow of talent compared to the influx. In this regard, the Colts were one of the more successful teams in the month of March.
With a roster that could stand to get a major upgrade in talent, Jim Irsay and Co. went to work snagging up highly coveted difference makers at strategic positions while letting their liabilities seek greener pastures.
Some concerns could be justified regarding the prices paid to acquire and retain certain players, but this is a roster that really needed an aggressive approach. There is certainly a high probability that the Colts have somewhat compromised their future cap space in order to get better in 2014. Time will tell how this risk/reward shakes out in the end.
One of my favorite free-agent signings of the NFL offseason was former Giants receiver Hakeem Nicks, who signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal that could reach $5.5 million with incentives, per ESPN's Adam Schefter.
Personally I think this is a guy they should have tried to lock up more long term at an affordable price because if they want to keep him around in 2015 they’re going to have to pay big time.
Despite the lack of a scoring presence during a year when his knees and ankles limited his explosiveness, Nicks still managed to average 16 yards per reception—a figure surpassed by only four wide receivers who had at least as many yards as him, per Pro Football Focus (paid site).
That should provide an indication of the type of playmaking one can expect now that Nicks is completely healthy.
The Colts jumped quickly at the chance to sign inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson only days after his release by the Cleveland Browns.
They may have given him a four-year, $22 million deal at the age of 30, but Jackson has the abilities to really upgrade the interior of that defense and will provide a veteran presence that was severely lacking on that side of the ball.
Resigning cornerback Vontae Davis was a smart move also, considering he is the type of young, physically dominating athlete you can build around. Plus, he has yet to reach the pinnacle of his career.
One of the more underrated free-agent signings of the year so far was the Colts' ability to snag defensive end Arthur Jones away from Baltimore at the height of his career.
Per Spotrac.com, the 6’3” 305-pound lineman signed a five-year $33 million deal at the age of 27. Believe me—he is worth every penny of that contract.
According to PFF, Jones was ranked 12th among 3-4 defensive ends in the NFL. His strength and ability to control the line should pay dividends for the defense for years to come.
Losing RB Donald Brown and safety Antoine Bethea shouldn’t be a big factor in the scheme of things.
The pieces are finally coming together for the Indianapolis Colts who are still rebuilding from the ground up after their 2-14 season back in 2011.