Although Indianapolis is notorious for being one of the least active teams in free agency each year, they have been on signing frenzy over the last twenty-four hours. Jamaal Anderson and Ernie Sims have joined the Colts and it would not surprise anyone who follows the team if that is the last of the moves the front office would make to acquire external players.
That all changed when head coach Jim Caldwell suggested that the Colts are still prowling through available free agents in an interview with AP Writer Michael Marot.
When asked Tuesday morning if Indy was looking at any more free agents, Caldwell smiled and said: “There’s a couple.”
Coltzilla will take a look at the players at positions where the Colts may need an upgrade, or those players who have been rumored to be in discussions with the Colts.
Safety – Donte Whitner
With Melvin Bullitt and Antoine Bethea already under contract, the urgent need to acquire another safety has diminished. Still, behind the two starters is a group of unproven, under-experienced, players who are a complete shot in the dark for in-camp development. Enter a veteran like Donte Whitner who should be available at a reasonable price and who would give the team a security blanket at either safety position. Whitner is a tackling machine, 140 tackles in 2010, who is better suited to play against the run. He is not a top tier safety like Eric Weddle, Quintin Mikell, or Dawan Landry but would help make up for the loss of Bob Sanders.
Defensive Tackle – Tommie Harris
It was rumored early in the NFL lockout that a likely landing spot for free agent defensive tackle Tommie Harris was in Indianapolis. There are a lot of reasons an acquisition like Harris makes sense, and he would fit right into the mold of the players the Colts have targeted so far. At one point in time, he was declared the best defensive tackle in the NFL but he has since fallen off and had to struggle through injuries. If he can somehow turn all of that around with a new team, it would be a coup. Harris has the talent to move around on the Colts defensive line and, if on the top of his game, would be a Week 1 starter. If his health and performance struggles continue, he would still provide solid depth. He is currently rumored to be meeting with the New England Patriots for a workout.
Defensive Tackle – Pat Williams
Although Pat Williams is the oldest defensive player in the NFL, his performance is still strong enough to believe that he would be an immediate upgrade for the Colts run defense. He would not be able to stay on the field for tons of snaps and would be best used only in sure-fire run down situations but his presence would give the Colts defensive line something it hasn’t had since Corey Simon joined the team for one semi-healthy season. Williams cannot have a reason to return to football that is greater than 1) love of the game and 2) a desire to win a championship. His other option is to return to his friends in Minnesota but in March of 2011 he stated that he did not intend to return and planned to finish his career elsewhere.
Guard – Brian Waters
Although Waters is 34-year-old, he is still playing at a high level and would give the Colts a solid starting-caliber guard for a year or two at least. Even if he is a stop-gap, Waters would likely be willing to consider an offer from a contender like the Colts to chase a championship as he enters the twilight of his career. There are numerous guard options, most of which are already pass protection strong players, in Indianapolis but the team who can sign Waters for a generous discount will bolster their offensive line. With the departure of Charlie Johnson to the Minnesota Vikings, a player like Waters could do a lot to secure the inside, even if he only plays a rotational or mentor role to younger players in camp.
Cornerback – Carlos Rogers
Although Rogers had some injury issues in 2010 and 2007, when healthy he is a starting-caliber cornerback who would immediately move into the nickel role and could push to start alongside Jerraud Powers. How much Rogers would demand to sign with a contender team is not entirely clear so that could keep a deal from being a possibility for Indianapolis. In any case, assuming that re-signing Kelvin Hayden to a better deal is out of the question, Rogers is the most prolific cornerback still available.
Feel free to discuss these free agents or those who were left out of the list. If Caldwell does have his eye on a couple of free agents and if they are not as high profile as the group listed above, who are the under the radar guys Indy’s front office may have in mind?