With free agency on the horizon, the Indianapolis Colts have to shore up a defense that was not up to expectations in 2013.
The Colts run defense has been marred with mediocrity since 2006 and has never had a semi-decent season. The defense had been better with the switch to Chuck Pagano’s scheme of the hybrid 3-4 but not by much.
In a league that is pass happy; the Colts were bounced from the playoffs due to the Patriots running it down their throats.
Another area the Colts need is a pass rusher not named Robert Mathis. Mathis was a one-man wrecking crew in getting to the quarterback; yet nobody else on the front seven consistently helped him throughout the season. The loss of Dwight Freeney was evident as well as sack totals were down. Without a pass rush, the Colts let below average quarterbacks like Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Terrelle Pryor throw all over them all season.
With the Colts having the second largest cap to work with in free agency, they will again have to reload and try to fill the many holes the roster has. Let’s take a look at the potential options in free agency that the Colts could take a look at in expanding their defensive talent.
Spencer had been consistently getting better for the Dallas Cowboys and had a breakout year in 2012 with 11 sacks. He’s been known to have injury issues and none more apparent than last year when he missed most of the season with injury. He’s been a solid run stopper and a better pass rusher, and would be a solid addition for the Colts defensive line. Although, anything over six million a year is too much for a player that has been marred by injury in his career.
Bennett signed a one-year deal last offseason with the eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks and had a team high 8.5 sacks. He will ask for more money but his output in the pass rush game may generate a look for the Colts. We all know that if you are a Super Bowl champion free agent, teams usually overpay for them.
Houston is a jack of all trades. He posted solid numbers last season with the Oakland Raiders. This acquisition seems to be unlikely due to the fact that he is one of the lone bright spots on the Raiders. If the Raiders just want to hit the reset button and begin anew, the Colts should look into getting a proven player like Houston, with no history of injury.
Jones played with Chuck Pagano with the Ravens in 2011, so he would be a solid addition to the defense. Like Houston, he is a versatile lineman who is a well rounded player. The Colts need a big body at the line and Jones fits the bill if they need to stop the run.
Linval Joseph and Justin Tuck
Joseph has been a great run stopper on a New York Giants defense that has been porous the past several years. The only issue is the Giants potentially wanting to resign him rather than the aging Justin Tuck.
Speaking of Tuck, if he is not resigned, he’d be a good bargain acquisition due to his age(30). The potential for him to ask big money initially may result in some suitors, but if the Colts remain patient they can nab him for the right, affordable price.
There are many different players that will be free agents as well; like Jared Allen and Greg Hardy. Yet those players will be asking roughly an arm and a leg for their contracts. Even with all the money the Colts have, they are not ones to spend a significant amount on one player.
The 2013 Colts were a team built on free agency, but they spent low on pieces rather spend high on just one piece. A Jared Allen type player would be fantastic on the 2014 Colts, yet would make the Colts secondary and offensive line harder to improve upon if one player takes up most of the Colts cap space.