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NFL free agency leads to overreacting fans


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For more on the Colts, follow Reggie Hayes via Twitter at www.twitter.com/reggiehayes1
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Colts sign five players to beef up weak areas

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 12:01 am
There's a problem with free agent speculation, and it was amplified with the Indianapolis Colts' signings on Tuesday's opening day.Guessing, hoping and generating wish lists in advance make living up to the anticipation impossible.

For the last month, we've heard all the names tossed around as possible Colts signees, from Paul Kruger to Cliff Avril to Anthony Spencer (my two cents) to Reggie Bush. So, when none of those names signs on the dotted line in Indianapolis, we're all underwhelmed and eager to criticize. Maybe a little time before judgment is warranted.

Twitter basically exploded in an outrage-fest when it was announced the Colts had signed former Green Bay outside linebacker Erik Walden.

Judging from the response, I gathered this: Walden wouldn't be the first one picked to play defense in a draft at the Indianapolis Police Athletic League. That may or may not be true. I haven't seen the heights, weights and pedigrees of those PAL players. Nor do I have any real feel for Walden other than those generated by looking at his less-than-impressive statistics.

He's certainly not a popular pick among those who type and hit "Tweet" fast on the Internet.

Word online is that Colts General Manager Ryan Grigson signed Walden to a four-year, $16 million deal. If true, that's outrageous, according to several self-proclaimed experts. Unless Walden blossoms in Indy, then it's genius. Being outraged in March can easily be forgotten in November.

The Colts' other pickups generated a mixed response as well. They signed right tackle Gosder Cherilus (Lions), defensive back Greg Toler (Cardinals), guard Donald Thomas (Patriots) and outside linebacker Lawrence Sidbury (Falcons).

The good news about Cherilus is that he's started 71 of 75 games with the Lions. The bad news he played 75 games for the Lions, one of the more – how do you say it? – inconsistent teams in the NFL.

Reaction to Cherilus, Toler and Thomas seemed mostly positive.

Who really knows? Yes, I can tell you whether I think Anquan Boldin can play wide receiver at a high level, as could several million others who watched the Super Bowl.

No, I don't know if Toler will be an upgrade from Jerraud Powers, who looks like he might sign with the Cardinals in a trade that wasn't a trade. I do know a healthy Toler is better than an injured Powers, but it sounds like Toler has had his share of health-related issues.

Thomas played for the Patriots, so he knows winning. He's 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, so he's a healthy size. Between Cherilus (6-7, 325) and Thomas, the Colts have addressed a need on the offensive line. Whether they've fixed it remains uncertain, and it will remain uncertain until we see if Andrew Luck is in the upright and locked position at the end of the season.

Grigson released a statement on the signings that said, if I were to paraphrase: Trust us. We know what we're doing.

Here's the statement:

"Chuck and I have a vision and we want players who love the game, play snap-to-whistle and do all of the little things to achieve greatness. Those traits are prevalent in all of the players we signed today.

"They love the game and play at a high level. They are team players and their focus is to dominate the person across from them every snap. That showed in the film and we agreed as a staff that these guys fit the mold of what we are trying to accomplish here. At the end of the day, we wanted players who would mesh well with our current roster and with one another. We feel these guys undoubtedly fit that style."

There are more Colts signings to come. Several outlets report that New York Jets safety LeRon Landry is scheduled to visit with the Colts.

So let the Landry hype commence. Then, if the Colts don't sign him, fans will have some more hypothetical outrage for offseason entertainment.

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For more on the Colts, follow Reggie Hayes via Twitter at www.twitter.com/reggiehayes1


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