(Christopher Hanewinckel – USA Today Sports)
There are a few free agency rumors and reports floating around the internet this week regarding the Colts. We’ll take a look at some of the recent stories and see which ones are true, plausible, or unlikely. The Colts have to spend up to the 89% cap floor this season, with $44 million in cap space, so expect the free agent buzz surrounding the team to ramp up in the next two weeks.
We'll get to this week's big story in a moment, but after the jump, we'll begin with a player most of us believed had played his last game as a Colt.
We have two items of free agent chatter regarding the oft-injured Powers. Mike Chappell of The Indianapolis Star reported yesterday that the Colts want to re-sign the veteran cornerback, citing both Coach Chuck Pagano and Powers’ agent, Cliff LaBoy. Here is Chappell’s quote from LaBoy:
“They are making a concerted effort to get something done,’’ he said. “They want him back. They have made that clear. And Jerraud has made it clear he wants to stay. We’ve had very positive conversations.
“But we’re also aware there will be a market for Jerraud. He has a lot to offer and he’s still a very young player.’’
The Verdict: Very true. There is no questioning the quotes obtained by the ultra-professional Chappell. Clearly, this was information the Colts did not mind sharing. The team can make an official offer to Powers beginning on March 9th (if he doesn’t sign, he would become a free agent at 4:00 PM on the 12th, of course).
Powers showed promise as a rookie third round pick, totaling 57 solo tackles, an interception, and ten passes defensed in 12 games his rookie season. Despite his potential as a coverage corner and solid tackler, he’s been hampered by injuries in all four years and is yet to play a full 16-game season.
Nevertheless, if Powers can stay on the field and off the injury report, he has the ability to play well at a high-demand position. So, as his agent was quick to point out, there is a market for him, injuries or not, which brings us to the next piece of Jerraud Powers news.
Kevin Acee of the U-T San Diego newspaper believes the Chargers could be one of those teams in the market for Powers’ services.
Conversely, the Chargers, whose new general manager is the Colts’ former personnel director, look to be considering a run at Colts unrestricted free agent cornerback Jerraud Powers.
The Verdict: Plausible. Acee was in Indianapolis for the combine and no doubt heard a great deal of chatter about draft picks and free agents. Without a source, it appears speculative, but his speculation could prove accurate. As we know, the Chargers’ new GM is Tom Telesco, who was part of the front office team that drafted Powers in 2009, and he could be looking at players he is already familiar with to fill holes on the roster.
San Diego has three cornerbacks scheduled to become free agents next month, including two starters in the aging Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason, a 5-year vet who could be expensive to retain. If the Chargers choose to re-sign only one (or neither) of their own starters, Jerraud Powers would be able to play a starting or nickel role for what could be a decent price.
Louis Vasquez, Chargers OG
Vasquez’s name has been floating around in Colts news all week. This one also originates with U-T San Diego’s Acee, who says the Colts “will make a run at Vasquez.”
Since much of our free agent offensive line talk has focused on players like Buffalo’s Andy Levitre, here is a quick profile. Louis Vasquez is a gigantic Texan who blocks people for a living. His pre-draft scouting report begins with the words “tall with large middle.” At 6-5, 335, he has some decent quickness for run blocking at the second level, but he is known for his pass blocking. Vasquez did 39 bench press reps at the 2009 Scouting Combine, which was a record at the time. Now, at 25, he is arguably the best player on San Diego’s offensive line
The Verdict: Plausible, but a long shot. Most people would agree that the Colts need some interior linemen, and Colts VP of Football Operations Jimmy Raye, previously with San Diego, is familiar with what the big guard brings to the table (which, judging by his photo is whatever he wants). That being said, a lot can happen between now and then, including the Chargers re-signing Vasquez, which ESPN’s Bill Williamson believes is crucial, even describing him as “irreplaceable.”
In short, if they don’t overpay, Vasquez could make a nice addition to the Colts offense, but he would have to become a free agent first.
Cliff Avril, Lions DE
Hmm. Well, this one traces back to a list of free agent predictions from Evan Silva of Rotoworld.
The Verdict: It’s a guess, intended for neither rumor nor report. Now, while it is believable that the Detroit Lions would part ways with one of their better players, the thought of Avril signing in Indy is just…odd. Sure he’s versatile (he played some outside linebacker early on at Purdue) and a fine pass-rusher, but it is hard to imagine the Colts would let an undersized 4-3 defensive end who had trouble fitting into their 3-4 system walk only to replace him with another undersized 4-3 defensive end. Stranger things have happened.
Stampede Blue’s Brad Wells believes former Eagles DT’s Cullen Jenkins and Mike Patterson could be potential free agent targets for the Colts, due to positional need and their connection to Colts GM Ryan Grigson.
The Verdict: There is nothing wrong with a little speculation. Jenkins is 32, and Patterson will be 30 when the 2013 season begins. Neither are prototypical 3-4 nose tackles, but they could possibly play DE in Chuck Pagano’s scheme for the right price. And, as Wells pointed out, Jenkins played in the Packers 3-4 scheme for most of his career. It doesn’t seem likely, however that the Colts would seek out aging defensive players and ask them to change positions.
Between now and free agency, everything could change. When teams begin re-signing their own free agents, the supply of above average players at each position will dip and fluctuate, and those initial re-signings will help set the market for the remaining free agents. For now, anything that isn’t straight from the mouths of the Colts’ brass is mostly just speculation, predictions, and entertainment as we approach a free agency period with a staggering $44 million in cap space.
Is there anyone you hope the Colts will target (or avoid) in free agency? Let us know in the comments. I do enjoy your comments.
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