The Colts missed out on Eric Weddle, but did manage to retain two important players.
The highly coveted San Diego safety stayed in a Charger uniform, pulling down a ridiculous 5 year, $40 million contract. Weddle is coming off his first Pro Bowl season, and is now the highest paid safety in football.
As much as I hoped to see him in a Colts uniform, it was always a longshot. Given the money it cost to keep in San Diego, it’s impossible to fault the Colts for not paying up. Weddle is a nice player, but he’s not close to the best safety in football.
As a consequence, the Colts signed Melvin Bullitt to a three year deal. Bullitt has struggled with injuries, but played well in 2009 when the Colts went to the Super Bowl. Bullitt is a fan favorite in large part because he stood in contrast to the oft-injured Bob Sanders. The tables turned a bit in 2010, when Bullitt struggled mightily early in the season before going down with a shoulder injury of his own.
Bullitt will likely start for the Colts secondary, but isn’t a dynamic player. He’s an adequate starter, if his body can hold up. In his absence, the Colts struggled to find a complement to Antoine Bethea last year. Bullitt’s signing gives the Colts stability, but limited upside. On the other hand, safeties don’t age well and it’s easy to see how the Colts may well come out ahead of the Chargers given the two contracts.
The best news of the day is the return of Adam Vinatieri. The veteran kicker reupped for 3 years with the Colts, a move that is difficult to criticize. Vinatieri’s range has been in question in recent years as he battled hip problems in 2009. His 2010 season was impeccable, however, as he only missed two kicks all season. His clutch 50 yard field goal with less than a minute to go would have given the Colts a victory had the special teams and defense managed to do their jobs.
It’s true he has range and age issues, but the ironic upside to a kicker with limited range is that it tempts coaches to try fewer long kicks. Granted, it’s nice to have a kicker who can drain a 52-yarder with the game on the line, but it’s often a better idea to go for it rather than kick from long distance. It’s hard to say for sure, but had Vinatieri been healthy for the Super Bowl two years ago, the Colts may well have won the game.
If he plays out his full deal, he’ll have 8 years in a Colts uniform compared with 10 in a Patriots.
The Colts still have a couple of days to work out deals with other previous members of the team like Addai, Session, and Johnson. The Jaguars are rumored to be interested in Session. Session struggled with health issues last year, but does provide an explosive ability to create turnovers the Colts desperately missed from the linebackers last year.