Dec. 2, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Arizona Cardinals cornerback Greg Toler (28) knocks the ball away from New York Jets wide receiver Chaz Schilens (85) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
According to reports from CBS Sports, ESPN, and the Baltimore Sun (yep), the Indianapolis Colts have come to an agreement with former Arizona Cardinals cornerback Greg Toler. The contract is reportedly a three-year $15 million dollar deal, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Toler is 28 years old, 6-0, 192 pounds, and played a lot at the nickel spot in Arizona, where he had 27 tackles and 2 interceptions last season. He was originally drafted in the fourth round in 2009 out of St. Paul's College in Virginia, and, according his Wikipedia page, he was the first player from his alma mater ever to be selected in the NFL Draft.
Toler actually earned the starting job in his second year in Arizona before tearing his ACL, which caused him to miss the following season (2011). He came back and played twelve games, starting two, last year, but the Cardinals did not re-sign him.
Toler, like Jerraud Powers – who is likely on his way out, has struggled with injuries, but if he can stay healthy, he could earn a starting job in Indianapolis, where the cornerback depth was a major problem in 2012. Arizona ran an aggressive, 3-4 defensive scheme during his time there, so Toler should be no stranger to the type of one-on-one coverage that Colts corners are expected to handle.
Indy also signed three lesser known players, ranging from good backups to younger guys with starting potential.
They picked up former Packers OLB Erik Walden (6-2, 250, 27 years old). Walden is a 5-year veteran who has played for the Dolphins, as well as a brief stint with the Chiefs before landing with Green Bay. He is durable, only missing one game the past two seasons, and started 15 games in 2011 and 10 in 2012. Walden totaled 46 tackles, 3 sacks, and 2 interceptions last season, and may earn a starting spot in place of Dwight Freeney in 2013.
Former Patriots guard Donald Thomas (6-4, 305, 25 years old) is a four year veteran who should provide good depth along the offensive line, though he is still young and has potential. According to ESPN, Thomas has started 21 games in his time with the Patriots, including seven last season. Unlike the Colts last year, New England has a very solid offensive line, and if Thomas proves he can be consistent, he may earn more than just back-up playing time in Indianapolis.
Former Atlanta Falcons DE Lawrence Sidbury (6-3, 261, 27 years old) is a speedy defensive end who will likely make a good outside linebacker in Chuck Pagano's system. He hasn't started any games for Atlanta, which plays a 4-3 scheme, but he should be a great depth player for the Colts if he proves he can cover when needed.
So far, the Colts have kept the big contracts to a minimum, leaving the huge signings to teams like Cleveland, Tennessee, and Washington. That's not to say they haven't or won't overpay for anyone – it's the nature of free agency, but they aren't recklessly opening up their checkbook. Stay tuned, as there is more to come. Grigson and Irsay aren't likely to be done yet.
Keep stopping by Colts Authority this week for a more in-depth look at each of the team's major signings.