Indianapolis Colts: free agency report card

With the most exciting part of the free agency semester coming to a close, it’s time for the Indianapolis Colts to receive their report card.

Grades are based on yearly salary, player skill and player potential. I will be including both key re-signings, along with incoming free agents.

Re-signings:

Vontae Davis, 4-year, $39-million contract and $20-million guaranteed

Grade: B

Wowza, that’s a big number, but unfortunately, that is what the market for young, skilled corners is these days. And you can blame the Green Bay Packers and Sam Shields for that (4-year $39-million). Fortunately for the Colts, the structure of Davis’ contract isn’t too bad and not to mention he is actually a pretty good corner. But, if he wants to truly earn the Benjamin’s, he’s going to have to take major strides as a cover corner in the next few years, with the help of head coach Chuck Pagano. The fact that he’s not quite at the level he’s getting paid is the reason this grade isn’t higher, but he had to be brought back and the Colts did a good job of making sure he didn’t hit free agency.

Let’s hope Davis prepares for Tom Brady every week:

Pat McAfee, 5-year, $14-million and $5-million guaranteed

Grade: A-

McAfee is not only a solid punter, but a big part of the Indianapolis community and re-signing him was a high priority. The Colts made sure McAfee is a Hoosier for at least 5 more years and they did it at a pretty good value, too. Good signing.

Adam Vinatieiri, 2-year, $5-million and $500k guaranteed

Grade: A

A veteran kicker who puts in the three-pointer when you need it most, the Colts re-signed Vinatieri at a great price. I was skeptical about bringing him back, but after seeing this contract, I love it. Solid A for GM Ryan Grigson on this one.

Here’s a video of both kickers having a pretty funny conversation about how to stop Peyton Manning:

Free agent signings:

D’Qwell Jackson, 4-year, $22-million and $11-million guaranteed

Grade: B

At first glance, the Colts seem to be overpaying an old inside linebacker who’s put up stats on a less than stellar Cleveland Browns team. However, the guaranteed money is placed within the first two years of his contract. Meaning, it’s basically a two year contract with an option to keep him each year after that. The Colts desperately needed help at the inside backer position, and Jackson gives them a consistent contributor to play alongside Jerrell Freeman. Not the greatest signing, but definitely a solid one.

Arthur Jones, 5-year, $33-million and $10-million guaranteed

Grade: B

I love that the Colts brought Jones into the organization, but there are some questions that arise with this signing. Does this mean the eventual departure of Ricky Jean-Francois or Cory Redding? Jones is just a better version of Jean-Francois, with a slightly higher salary. Redding is up there in age and his play is declining a bit, but he’s a leader of the defense. While, Jean-Francois and Jones can both play a little nose tackle, it is not their natural position, creating a bit of an expensive crowd at defensive end. This signing will make a lot more sense if the Colts eventually part ways with Jean-Francois, or if Redding takes a significant pay-cut after this year. For now, they’re bringing in a good player while creating an expensive front line. Then again, you can never have too many defensive linemen.

Phil Costa, 2-year, $2.7 million and $450k guaranteed

Grade: D+

The only reason I didn’t give this grade a flat out F is because it is (hopefully) purely a depth signing. He clearly isn’t getting much money, and I am guessing, as I’ve said before, that Grigson is expecting this year to be Khaled Holmes’ time to shine. Regardless, all I’ve heard from Cowboys fans’ about Costa is that he’s a bad blocker and an even worse snapper. Which is a recipe for disaster, and I hope he never sees the field.

Here’s a video of Costa getting manhandled:

Overall grade: B+

All in all, a good free agency period for the Colts. I’m glad they’re focusing on the defensive side of the ball and expect that trend to continue come draft season. I do wish they addressed the interior offensive line a little more, but with the return of Donald Thomas and the progression of both Holmes and Hugh Thornton, should, hopefully, provide a boost in that department. Here’s to a great 2014 season, Go Colts!

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