Indianapolis Colts: Samson Satele

Camp preview: Indianapolis Colts

July, 17, 2014
Jul 17
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NFL Nation’s Mike Wells examines the three biggest issues facing the Indianapolis Colts heading into training camp.

Khaled Holmes: Colts general manager Ryan Grigson took a big gamble in the offseason by not heavily pursuing a veteran center. He signed Phil Costa, who was beaten out by a rookie in Dallas, only to have the veteran suddenly retire before ever playing a snap for the Colts. Even with Costa on the roster, the plan all along for the Colts was for Holmes to start. This is the same Khaled Holmes who managed to play a total of 12 snaps as a rookie, despite poor play by Samson Satele at the position last season. Grigson has constantly defended Holmes ever since, pointing out that the second-year player would be his starter. The goal is for Holmes to team with franchise quarterback Andrew Luck for years to come. Holmes needs to have good chemistry with Luck and control the line of the scrimmage, all while making sure the rest of the offensive linemen know the correct calls. That’s a lot to put on the shoulders of a player who is basically a rookie, especially when you think about the expectations the Colts have this season.

Safety: Similar to his decision at center, Grigson didn’t look far outside the organization to address a position of need. Veteran Antoine Bethea left Indianapolis to sign with San Francisco, and it appeared Delano Howell was the frontrunner to start alongside LaRon Landry at safety. Things seem to change in the middle of June, when the Colts signed veteran Mike Adams. Adams has started 73 games in his 10-year NFL career, but even though he says he feels like he’s 26 years old, he’s actually 33. Howell has started only four games in his career. And speaking of Landry, he didn’t exactly ease anybody’s mind about whether he’ll be able to rebound from a disappointing first season with the Colts. He didn’t attend any of the voluntary offseason workouts, then showed up at the mandatory minicamp with what was described as a soft-tissue injury. While the offseason workouts are voluntary, it would have helped Landry if he had at least attended a few of the sessions. Grigson and Colts coach Chuck Pagano didn’t criticize Landry for not showing up, but they did point out their preference of wishing he was in attendance. If anything it would have showed that Landry cared about working on chemistry with the rest of his defensive teammates. There are too many questions surrounding the safety position on a defense that was way too inconsistent last season.

Trent Richardson: The excuses are no longer available for Richardson in the Colts organization. The ready-made line of, “Richardson is still learning the offensive system,” is in the trash on the curb. Richardson, who the Colts acquired from Cleveland just days before Week 3 last season, has had an entire offseason to learn the playbook. Now he can use his natural instincts when he’s on the field, instead of constantly trying to remember the plays. The Colts clearly are trailing the Browns in the who-got-the-better-of-the-trade race. Cleveland turned the No. 26 pick into hotshot quarterback Johnny Manziel after using it to trade up to No. 22. The Colts? All Richardson gave them was 2.9 yards a carry and a demotion to the second unit last season. Richardson and the Colts have to hope this season is different. The pressure is on Richardson, because Grigson said earlier this year he would make the trade again if put in the same position. Richardson, the No. 3 overall pick in 2012, had offseason shoulder surgery and will head into training camp as the starter, with Ahmad Bradshaw ready to take some snaps from him if he struggles.

Poll: Colts' position weakness

July, 2, 2014
Jul 2
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The start of training camp is three weeks away. The Indianapolis Colts used the offseason to fine-tune some things rather than make wholesale changes.

SportsNation

What position is the Colts' biggest area of concern heading into training camp?

  •  
    29%
  •  
    11%
  •  
    54%
  •  
    6%

Discuss (Total votes: 1,819)

Enter linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, defensive lineman Arthur Jones and receiver Hakeem Nicks. Gone are center Samson Satele, safety Antoine Bethea and guard Mike McGlynn. Re-signed were running back Ahmad Bradshaw and cornerback Vontae Davis.

Those were just some of the highlights -- or low-lights, depending how you look at it -- of the moves made by Indianapolis.

The Colts hope the offseason moves will be enough to help them close the gap with Denver and New England in the AFC this season.

But, of course, there are some who still don’t believe general manager Ryan Grigson did enough for that to happen.

Which position do you think is the Colts’ biggest area of concern heading into training camp?

Position battle: Guard

June, 25, 2014
Jun 25
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The interior part of the Indianapolis Colts' offensive line was brutal last season, and that's putting it nicely.

Guard Mike McGlynn, center Samson Satele and guard Hugh Thornton were the main players responsible for that.

Khaled Holmes will be the new starting center. Thornton, Jack Mewhort, Donald Thomas and Lance Louis are competing for the two starting guard spots.

Here's Day 3 of the five-day series looking at the five most competitive position battles

Position: Guard

Primary candidates: Thornton, Mewhort, Thomas and Louis

Thornton

Pro: Thornton was forced into the starting lineup as a rookie last season. He started 14 games after Thomas went down with a torn tendon in his quad and bicep. Thornton appears to have the inside track on keeping his starting spot because he worked with the first team during offseason workouts.

Con: Thornton got experience by starting those 14 games, but he struggled and he was definitely part of those interior problems.

Mewhort

Pro: He showed the coaching staff enough to go from being with the second unit during the first part of offseason workouts to working with the first unit by the end of their three-day minicamp. Mewhort's locker is also right next to quarterback Andrew Luck.

Con: Mewhort played tackle during his final season at Ohio State. Mewhort starting would mean that the interior part of the offensive line would consist of a rookie, a second-year center who is basically a rookie and a second-year guard. That's a lot of inexperience there.

Thomas

Pro: Thomas has started 23 of the 45 games he's appeared in during his career. Colts GM Ryan Grigson believes Thomas has gotten stronger in his lower body.

Con: Thomas is behind the rest of the group because he didn't participate in any of the offseason workouts since he's still working his way back from his injuries last season.

Louis

Pro: Louis has started 28 of his 41 career games. He started 24 of a possible 25 games during the 2011 and 2012 seasons with the Chicago Bears.

Con: Louis didn't play in the league last season after tearing his ACL in November 2012. So he's not only learning a new system, he's also getting comfortable playing football again on that knee. Louis started out working with the first team in the offseason before being passed by Mewhort.

INDIANAPOLIS -- Don’t try to label Indianapolis Colts rookie Jack Mewhort as a tackle. Don’t try to say he’s a guard, either. Same goes with center.

Mewhort, the Colts’ second-round draft pick, doesn’t look at himself as a one-position player.

"I’m here to play offensive line," Mewhort said. "I’ve played a lot of different positions through my years of football and that’s what I intend to do here. I want to learn them all so that if there’s ever a situation where they need me, I’ll be ready."

Mewhort is familiar with all the positions on the offensive line. He was an All-American center coming out of high school. He played guard during the 2011 season at Ohio State before switching to tackle during his final two seasons with the Buckeyes.

But this is the NFL where the competition along the defensive line is bigger, stronger, faster and smarter. And Mewhort has to soak in the knowledge of how to play the different positions on the offensive line.

Guard is likely the position that Mewhort has the best chance to play because the Colts are established at tackle with Anthony Castonzo and Gosder Cherilus.

"Yeah, it’s going to be a challenge," he said. "It’s something, though, that I embrace. That’s kind of always been my thing, is versatility. ... I think that makes me more valuable as an offensive lineman."

Mewhort has a valued space inside the Colts’ locker room. His locker is right next to quarterback Andrew Luck. He ended a trend where the starting center had the locker next to the quarterback. Jeff Saturday and Peyton Manning were next to each other and Samson Satele, the Colts’ former starting center, used to be next to Luck.

"I think it’s always cool coming into a situation where you know there’s a lot of talented guys and like I said, a lot of guys to learn from," Mewhort said. "He’s a guy I’ve watched through college and through the NFL, so I know he’s a talented player. I think he’s going to lead this team to great places and I’m excited to be a part of it."

A look at Colts' OTA questions

May, 27, 2014
May 27
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts started their OTA's on Tuesday. Players will wear only helmets and they're allowed just six hours of work per day during the 10 OTA's.

The media will be able to watch practice and have access to the players Thursday.
Here's a quick look at five interesting things to pay attention to during the OTA's:

Race for top running back spot: Vick Ballard reminded everybody that he was the Colts' starting running back before a torn ACL cut his second season short. Ballard is in the running with Trent Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw to be the team's workhorse in the backfield. Richardson is coming off a disappointing first season in Indianapolis and Bradshaw, like Ballard, had his season end early because of an injury (neck). All three will get a chance to carry the ball if things go as envisioned for offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton, but only one of them will carry the bulk of the load.

Reps for Holmes and Luck: This is the time for Colts new starting center Khaled Holmes and quarterback Andrew Luck to work on their continuity. Holmes will try to do something former starter Samson Satele couldn't: Lead the offensive line. "The center-quarterback exchange really starts everything, probably the most elementary fundamental part of a play," Luck said. "I know when you fumble one, it stinks and we pride ourselves on making sure we get 100 percent of those, which we will no matter which center-quarterback combination is in the game."

Replacing Mathis: Suspended linebacker Robert Mathis is able to take part in all of the team's offseason activities, but I wouldn't be surprised if other linebackers, especially Bjoern Werner, get first-time reps. Mathis is allowed to be around the team until his suspension starts in Week 1, but this is the time the Colts need to allow players like Werner to get as many of the snaps with the rest of the starting defensive unit to allow him -- or whoever the starter will be -- to get comfortable. There's no replacing Mathis' 19.5 sacks, but the Colts need to do what they can to at least tread water while their defensive leader is away.

Delano time: Speaking of continuity, this would be a good time for Delano Howell, who has the inside shot at the starting spot, and LaRon Landry to work on their chemistry at safety. But Landry has spent most of the offseason working out on his own like he often does. This is a time, though, for Howell to cement the starting spot since the Colts put their faith in him by not drafting a safety or signing a marquee one during free agency.

Holmes embraces spotlight and challenge

April, 25, 2014
Apr 25
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Khaled Holmes stood at his locker as the center of attention for more than one reason at the Indianapolis Colts facility Wednesday.

With the much-needed release of Samson Satele last month and the surprising retirement of Phil Costa earlier this week, Holmes has the inside track to be the Colts' starting center next season after having a "redshirt" rookie season.

"You've got to embrace every aspect of it," Holmes said while being surrounded by media. "I look forward to this kind of [attention]. I'll get used to it and grow in every way."

The Colts have been selling Holmes hard ever since Satele, last season's starter, was released.

Holmes only played 12 snaps as a rookie after missing most of training camp with an ankle injury. But the optimism is high because he started 37 games while at USC.

"I just look at it as a great opportunity," Holmes said. "It's absolutely a challenge. It's one I welcome and look forward to."

I don't think there's a word to describe what Holmes is getting himself in. He's expected to work hand-in-hand with quarterback Andrew Luck, the team's franchise player.

Luck, despite the lack of a lot of reps with Holmes, said he's "very comfortable" with him. He described Holmes as being a "great football player ... a smart, cerebral guy."

The offseason and training camp will be huge for the two so that they can develop continuity before the games really count and before the Denver Broncos' improved defense tries to get after Luck in Week 1.

"You forget how many reps you end up taking with the center just in practice and everything, and we obviously don't have that great of an amount of reps so it will be very important during this workout OTA season to get all those reps with Khaled and whoever else is going to be snapping the ball," Luck said.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Center Phil Costa wasn't even around long enough to be asked about dating Hulk Hogan's daughter let alone possibly hike the ball to quarterback Andrew Luck with the Indianapolis Colts.

Costa, in a surprising announcement, has decided to retire.

"Phil feels it's in his best interest to retire from the game," Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said in a statement released by the team. "We certainly understand and wish him nothing but the best."

The Colts signed Costa to a two-year, $2.7 million contract that included $450,000 guaranteed last month.

UPDATE: The Colts do not have to pay Costa any of the guaranteed money he was scheduled to make since he decided to retire.

The idea was for Costa to compete with Khaled Holmes for the starting center position, but I got the sense that the Colts were hoping Holmes would win the job. Costa, who started with the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, was beat out by rookie Travis Frederick last season.

Holmes only played 12 snaps and was a healthy inactive 11 times last season as a rookie.

Now the Colts are in serious of need of adding another center to the roster. This isn't a position they should be in with their franchise player Luck. The little bit of good news out of Costa telling the Colts he was retiring is that he did it now and not after training camp had already started. It gives Grigson some time to try to find another center to add to the roster.

Alex Mack?

Nope. The Cleveland Browns quickly matched the offer the Jacksonville Jaguars gave him.

Mike McGlynn?

McGlynn, who plays guard and center, was the best center on the Colts' roster last season, but the team had no interest in re-signing him. McGlynn is now with the Washington Redskins.

Samson Satele?

Next.

Kyle Cook, Mike Gibson and Steve Vallos are the three best centers still available on the free agent market, according to Bill Polian's free agent tracker.

Grigson said during the NFL owners' meetings last month that he wasn't overly impressed with the group of free agent centers.

That takes us to the draft. The Colts' first pick is not until No. 59 in the second round.

Here's a recap of the top 10 centers in the draft, according to ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.:

1. Marcus Martin, USC
2. Weston Richburg, Colorado St.
3. Russell Bodine, North Carolina
4. Travis Swanson, Arkansas
5. Jonotthan Harrison, Florida
6. Gabe Ikard, Oklahoma
7. James Stone, Tennessee
8. Bryan Stork, Florida St.
9. Corey Linsley, Ohio St.
10. Tyler Larsen, Utah St.

Holmes has inside track at center

March, 26, 2014
Mar 26
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Khaled Holmes didn't give you an appetizer sampling size of what he could do during his rookie season with the Indianapolis Colts.

For a player who stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 319 pounds, what Holmes gave the Colts was more like a snack-size treat.

Holmes played a total of 12 snaps last season.

[+] EnlargeKhaled Holmes
Michael Hickey/Getty ImagesKhaled Holmes played just 12 snaps last season but is primed to be the Colts' starting center at the start of the regular season.
But here Colts coach Chuck Pagano sat during the breakfast media session and general manager Ryan Grigson leaned back in his chair in the lounge area of the Ritz Carlton hotel Tuesday afternoon talking confidently about the player they selected in the fourth round of the 2013 draft.

So confident that you have to believe that Holmes -- the same Holmes who played 12 snaps last season -- has the inside track to be the Colts' starting center when the regular season begins. Holmes was handpicked by Grigson and the last thing the general manager wants is for his draft pick not to pan out.

"He's big, he's athletic and he's very, very bright," Pagano said. "He has great [football instincts]. From a mental standpoint, it's all there."

The Colts cut ties with center Samson Satele earlier this month after he played poorly last season. Of the top-tier free-agent centers, Cleveland's Alex Mack is the only one the Colts had their eyes on.

Could Mack have immediately fixed the interior part of the Colts' offensive line? Of course, but they shied away from heavily pursuing him because the financial commitment would have been too much.

The Colts signed former Dallas Cowboys center Phil Costa to compete with Holmes for the starting position.

"We looked at every center, we looked at all the guards," Grigson said. "We didn't like anybody. It's based off our facts, which is the tape."

So that leaves Holmes and Costa as the two leading candidates to start and possibly give the Colts the same center combination they had with Jeff Saturday and Peyton Manning for eight years.

"It was unfortunate what happened to Khaled but he's a talented guy and the expectations are high for him," Pagano said. "To bring in a guy like Costa in the mix, who's to say there's not a guy? Time is going to tell. We feel like he might be sitting right there. We have to stay healthy and get them on the field and play at that level. Time will tell on that. I think we have two capable guys that can play at a high level."

Costa has the resume to be a starter even if he did lose his starting spot to rookie Travis Frederick last season with the Cowboys. Costa started every game for Dallas in 2011, but injuries limited him during the 2012 season and he played in only three games last season.

You're probably wondering how Holmes could go from barely breaking a sweat in a game last season to looking like the player with the best shot to be hiking the ball to Andrew Luck next season.

Holmes was behind in the learning process after missing a significant amount of training camp last year with an ankle injury.

"This league, unfortunately, when a guy gets hurt in training camp he gets shelved," Grigson said. "There was a lot of optimism about him in minicamp, his level of intelligence. He's unique, he's 318 pounds. He's got guard versatility even though I think he's a center, but he's got good arm length. At center, you have to have that ... The guy knows how to play football."

Satele's problems at center last season were well documented, but the Colts didn't want to just throw Holmes on the field because it wouldn't have been fair to do that to him since he missed a significant part of training camp.

"You have a trust level," Grigson said. "And even if you have a player you think doesn't have as high of ceiling as the guy that's sitting on bench, you have a guy who has been through some wars. Experience plays a major factor and it makes everyone comfortable when you have someone who has been there done that than throwing a guy to the wolves when you're in the middle of a run.

"That's a tough thing to do. When you're losing or if you've lost five games in a row and you're not going to the playoffs, then you can make those decisions."
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The issues with the interior part of the Indianapolis Colts' offensive line have been obvious since before the middle of last season.

The Colts, they think, have addressed their center problems by releasing Samson Satele earlier this month and signing Phil Costa to compete with Khaled Holmes to be the starter.

Hugh Thornton will have a chance to hold down one of the guard positions. The other position will likely be taken by Donald Thomas next season.

Thomas only gave you a brief tease of what he can do in a Colts uniform because he didn’t make it through the second week of the season. Thomas’ first season with the Colts ended when he tore a tendon in his quad in Week 2 against the Miami Dolphins.

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said Tuesday that Thomas also tore his biceps in the same game.

"In that same series," Grigson said. "And he played through a torn biceps. But you're not going to play through a torn quad."

Grigson referred to Thomas as being “on the right track” with working his way back from both of those injuries.

“With a guy like Donald, in a strange way, this is almost good for him,” Grigson said. “He’s one of those guys I really identify with. He’s always had a chip on his shoulder. ... He was really playing well and he really helped our interior. Now he’s getting that quad strength.

“He’s squatting. I told him I really felt like this offseason his lower body strength and through his hips, he’s stronger than 9 acres of garlic up top. The guy is so strong with his upper body. He just has to really get that lower body with the quad injury as strong as possible so he’s a complete player in our interior.”

The key with the Colts’ line is consistency. It showed some flashes at times last season, but flashes don't get the job done. The Colts need to protect quarterback Andrew Luck and open up lanes for the running backs every play, not every few plays.

Thomas will bring some stability to the interior part of the offensive line. That’s what the Colts hope at least.

“A guy with experience, we only had a short glimpse [last season],” Colts coach Chuck Pagano said. “He’s busting his rear rehabbing trying to get well with the quad and bicep. He’s doing great, he’s on track to be back for training camp. It’ll be great to have him back.”
INDIANAPOLIS -- Khaled Holmes and Phil Costa.

Those two names might cause you to look at their Wikipedia page to find out their background.

Here’s the condensed version of who Holmes and Costa are: They are centers for the Indianapolis Colts and will be the two competing for the right to hike the ball to franchise quarterback Andrew Luck next season.

[+] EnlargePhil Costa
Streeter Lecka/Getty ImagesThe Colts signed center Phil Costa to a one-year, $1.2 million contract. He'll compete with Khaled Holmes for the starting job this fall.
That essentially was the message general manager Ryan Grigson passed along during a conference call with reporters late Friday morning.

“We feel pretty good where we’re at,” he said. “You always like to be able to plug in a Pro Bowler there or someone that’s a five-year starter, have that luxury, but I’ll say this to make this point: You guys had great success here with (Jeff) Saturday who was a (college free agent) that I think was stocking shelves when they brought him in.

“About center in general, I personally have been fortunate enough to be to three Super Bowls with two teams, and on all three of those teams the centers were (college free agents). That’s a position where you can find a quality guy and you don’t need always to have that high-profile player at that spot."

Samson Satele was the Colts’ starting center the past two seasons, but he was released this month after performing poorly last season.

The Colts had interest in Cleveland center Alex Mack, but being able to land him was a longshot from the start because the Browns used their transition tag on him, meaning they could match any offer made to Mack.

Indianapolis signed Costa, who spent his first four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, to a one-year, $1.2 million contract last week. He started every game in 2011 for the Cowboys. His 2012 season was cut short because of ankle and back problems. Costa, an undrafted free agent, dressed for 12 games in 2013 but only played in three of those games, losing his starting job to Travis Frederick, the team’s first-round pick last season.

Holmes, the Colts’ fourth-round pick in 2013, still remains a 6-3, 319-pound mystery. He played a total of 12 snaps last season. That number is alarming when you consider the problems the Colts had on the interior part of the offensive line last season.

“We signed Phil Costa, he’s a tough young center that has started games,” Grigson said. “We drafted Khaled Holmes to be that center of the future. He never got a chance in camp really because of the ankle, so he’s still a little bit of an unknown at the professional level. But it’s going to be a good competition.”

So for now, learn as much as you can about Holmes and Costa, because they are currently the two players with the best shot of being the Colts’ starting center next season.

Colts free-agency tracker

March, 19, 2014
Mar 19
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INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Colts opened free agency with the fourth-most salary-cap space in the league. Their cap space has shrunk after signing several free agents like cornerback Vontae Davis and defensive lineman Arthur Jones. The Colts have about $13.5 million in cap space remaining.

They’re still in need of a safety and possibly a guard and another center.

Here's a look at who the Colts have signed, who has moved on and who is still waiting to sign with a team.

Heading to Indianapolis

DE/DT Arthur Jones

Status: Signed a five-year, $33 million contract with $10 million guaranteed

LB D'Qwell Jackson

Status: Signed four-year, $22 million contract with $11 million guaranteed

C Phil Costa

Status: Signed a one-year, $1.2 million contract with $450,000 guaranteed

WR Hakeem Nicks

Status: Signed a one-year, $3.9 million contract with $2.25 million guaranteed

Staying put

RB Ahmad Bradshaw

Status: Signed a one-year deal for $855,000

CB Vontae Davis

Status: Signed a four-year deal for $39 million with $20 million guaranteed

S Sergio Brown

Status: Signed a one-year deal for $1.4 million with $300,000 guaranteed

P Pat McAfee

Status: Signed a five-year deal for $14.5 million with $5 million guaranteed

K Adam Vinatieri

Status: Signed a two-year contract for $5 million with $500,000 guaranteed

Moving on

S Antoine Bethea

Status: Signed a four-year, $23 million contract with $9.25 guaranteed with San Francisco

C Samson Satele

Status: Released on March 6

RB Donald Brown

Status: Signed a three-year, $10 million contract with $4 million guaranteed with San Diego

OL Jeff Linkenbach

Status: Signed a one-year, $900,000 contract with $250,000 guaranteed with Kansas City

LB Kavell Conner

Status: Signed a three-year, $2.7 million with San Diego

Still waiting

OL Justin Anderson, RB Tashard Choice, DT Aubrayo Franklin, WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, LB Scott Lutrus, DE Ricardo Mathews, DT Jake McDonough, OL Mike McGlynn, LB Lawrence Sidbury, CB Cassius Vaughn, LB Pat Angerer

Top free-agent roundup: AFC South

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
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With the 2014 free-agency period starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, here is a look at top free agents in the AFC South as compiled by reporters Tania Ganguli, Paul Kuharsky, Michael DiRocco and Mike Wells. The top seven free agents are on defense, led by cornerback Vontae Davis of the Colts. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, a fixture in Jacksonville for the past eight years, is looking for a new team. Is this the end of Antoine Bethea's run in Indianapolis?

1. Vontae Davis, Colts CB: Indianapolis needs a top cornerback to help a defense that finished 20th in the league last season. Davis has shown he has the talent to be one of the top cornerbacks in the league. He just needs to work on his consistency.

2. Alterraun Verner, Titans CB: A smart, aware corner with a knack for getting to the ball, he just lacks top speed and size.

3. Antoine Bethea, Colts S: A reliable player, having started every game he played during his eight years with the Colts. Finished with at least 100 tackles in five of those seasons.

4. Earl Mitchell, Texans NT: Solid player at the point of attack and has shown the ability to get consistent penetration. He had 48 tackles and 1.5 sacks last season.

5. Bernard Pollard, Titans S: Played well as an in-the-box safety and provided the sort of standard-setting leadership the Titans lacked previously. Update: Signed one-year, $2 million deal to remain with Titans.

6. Darryl Sharpton, Texans LB: Led the Texans with 87 tackles but is not as good in coverage as he is against the run.

Smith
7. Antonio Smith, Texans DE: He is more of a run-stuffing defensive end than a pass-rusher, although he did record five sacks in 2013.

8. Ben Tate, Texans RB: He led the Texans with 771 yards rushing. He has been somewhat injury-prone but has produced when needed as Arian Foster's backup.

9. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars RB: Jones-Drew started 15 games and led the Jaguars with 803 yards and five touchdowns rushing. He also caught 43 passes (third on the team) for 314 yards. He got off to a slow start then battled through ankle, hamstring and knee issues and averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry.

Brown
10. Donald Brown, Colts RB:
Brown was the Colts’ third running back twice in 2013 only to end the season as the starter. He has the speed but was too inconsistent during his five seasons in Indianapolis.

11. Garrett Graham, Texans TE: He’s not Owen Daniels, but he can line up tight or as a flex tight end. He came into his own as a receiver last season with 49 catches for 545 yards and five TDs.

12. Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts RB: A neck injury limited Bradshaw to only three games last season. It took just those three games for him to show he was the Colts' most effective running back.

13. Ropati Pitoitua, Titans DE: A giant, run-stuffing end who would be a solid, flexible piece in the hybrid front. Update: Signed 3-year, deal for $9.6 million to remain with Titans.

14. Adam Vinatieri, Colts K: The 41-year-old Vinatieri was 35-of-40 on field goals and a perfect 34-of-34 on extra points in 2013.

15. Samson Satele, Colts C: Was released by the team on March 6 after a disappointing 2013 season. He has started 98 of 102 games during his seven-year career.

Free-agency primer: Colts

March, 7, 2014
Mar 7
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» AFC Free-Agency Primer: East | West | North | South » NFC: East | West | North | South

Key free agents: CB Vontae Davis, S Antoine Bethea, K Adam Vinatieri, RB Donald Brown

Where they stand: The Colts have the fourth-most salary-cap space ($41 million) in the league. They solved one of their issues when they signed inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson on Thursday to start alongside Jerrell Freeman, Erik Walden and Robert Mathis. Davis is the most important player to re-sign with having to acquire a new starting center next in line after Samson Satele was released on March 6. The Colts re-signed punter Pat McAfee to a five-year deal Friday. The 41-year-old Vinatieri believes he can kick for several more seasons. Expect the Colts to look to add depth at receiver to give quarterback Andrew Luck another target to go with receivers T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne and tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen.

What to expect: The Colts should be able to work out a deal with Davis, who was inconsistent last season but has the talent to be one of the top cornerbacks in the league. Don't expect the Colts to go with a rookie or second-year player as their starting center. The position is too valuable for them to go that direction with their franchise player, Luck, taking the snaps. New Orleans' Brian De La Puente and Green Bay's Evan Dietrich-Smith are both free agents. Denver receiver Eric Decker is an ideal receiver to go with Hilton and Wayne. The Colts and Decker have mutual interest, but he may be out of their price range if he wants to be paid like a No. 1 receiver. Hakeem Nicks and James Jones are also free agents the Colts could pursue. Acquiring a veteran guard is a better option than drafting one, because Indianapolis has the talent to take another step in the AFC next season. Decker's teammate in Denver, guard Zane Beadles, is a free agent.
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson didn't just come out and say it as he stood behind the podium at Lucas Oil Stadium on Feb. 21. But you knew what he was getting at while addressing the media during the NFL scouting combine that afternoon.

Grigson was asked if center Samson Satele was in the team's plans in the future.

“This is an evaluation process and we have a plan in place,” he said. “We're not going to divulge that to anyone, but we're taking all the time and due diligence and the film work and it's something for the organization to know and you guys will find out at some point.”

Grigson's comments about Satele may not seem like a big deal, but things were put further into perspective about how the organization felt about the center when the general manager talked about safety LaRon Landry, cornerback Greg Toler and defensive tackle Ricky Jean Francois needing to be more consistent next season in the concourse outside of the media area.

Releasing Satele, who was a disappointment last season, became official Thursday. The move frees up $4 million in salary cap space for the Colts.

The Colts are now on the market for a new starting center to snap the ball to franchise quarterback Andrew Luck and block because Khaled Holmes, who played a total of 12 snaps during his rookies season, is the only center on the roster.

Mike McGlynn was solid while starting in place of the injured Satele last season. McGlynn's a free agent and I've been told that the Colts don't plan on re-signing him at the moment.

New Orleans' Brian De La Punte and Green Bay's Even Dietrich-Smith are possible players the Colts could pursue once free agency begins March 11. The Cleveland Browns used the transition tag on center Alex Mack. The Browns have the right to match any offer made to Mack.

  • And to put a wrap on Thursday's busy day for the Colts, which also saw them sign linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, they made qualifying offers to restricted free agents cornerback Josh Gordy and offensive lineman Joe Reitz. The Colts have the right of first refusal if Gordy or Reitz receives an offer sheet from another team. Indianapolis made an exclusive rights tender to linebacker Cam Johnson.
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