INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 22: Peyton Manning #18 of the Indianapolis Colts gives instructions to his teammates during the NFL against the Houston Texans at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 22, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
In the baptism scene of The Godfather, Michael Corleone sets his hit squads loose to trim away the fat, so to speak. On March 9, 2012, the Indianapolis Colts did the very same thing, cutting four veteran players. The Colts' cut list bares a striking resemblance to the needs list of the New York Giants.
Veterans Joseph Addai, running back, Gary Brackett, middle linebacker, Melvin Bullitt, strong safety and Dallas Clark, tight end, were the unfortunate, or fortunate as the case may be, players to have received their pink slips. Each player was, at one time or another, regarded as one of the best at their respective positions. However, years of playing time and mounting injuries may have taken their toll on this bunch. Then again, some of these athletes may prove to be an offseason steal. In either case, you can bet that the eyes of Jerry Reese are looking at this latest bunch of free agents.
First up, we'll discuss Joseph Addai. With the release of Brandon Jacobs, a hard hit for the team and fans to take, there is a definite need at running back. Addai, now going into his seventh-season, has only breached the one-thousand yard mark twice in his career - his first two seasons. Injuries have played a major role, in recent years, for this running back. Two injuries that may have slowed him down are the hamstring issue that he suffered from last season and the knee injury that plagued him in 2008. In 2010, Addai had a nagging shoulder injury that didn't help his performance much.
Now twenty-eight years old, Addai faces the free agent market with a big name. But will his price tag rival that of his notoriety? The Colts were due to pay Addai $3.72 million dollars in the 2012 season. Obviously, their front office did not think his talents matched his due-salary. With that in mind, his price tag should drop in the free agent market, given his age and injury resume. Undoubtedly, he will get picked up by someone for the 2012 season. The question here is if Joseph Addai is worth bringing in to the Giants, even at a significant discount?
With Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum expected to start the 2012 season on the (PUP) physically unable to perform list, the need at the tight end position is critical. Enter Dallas Clark. Heading into his tenth-season in the NFL, at the ripe old age of thirty-three, Clark may be one of the biggest steals of the free agency. Dallas Clark, due $2.2 million bucks from the Colts this year, has long been regarded as one of the better tight ends in the league and he might be available for as little as a song this year.
In 2009, Clark went over the one-thousand yard receiving mark for the first time in his career. At six-foot three-inches, two-hundred and fifty-two pounds, Clark is not an easy guy to bring down, once he is off to the races. However, injuries and a case of the butterfingers have hurt him in years past. The Giants do not need to sign any single tight end to a long term deal. They simply need to fill a void until Ballard or Beckum are healthy enough to get back to work. Could Clark be the answer? A short-term deal at a little bit above the vet-minimum for this tight end could do the trick.
Aaron Ross and Deon Grant, both, hit the market this year. The odds of resigning the two of them are slim. Melvin Bullitt, another one of the Colts discarded, may prove to be worth a look. As a defensive back, he has shown versatility, playing every position in the defensive backfield. The red flags on Bullitt are a lingering shoulder injury that reared its ugly head on the 2010 season. The injury put an abrupt end to his last two seasons, having only played six games over the course of the last two years. Prior to that, the kid showed promise. The questions that surround him are obvious. Can he bounce back from a rather serious injury, that could sideline him again in the future? After two stand-still seasons, the price tag on Bullitt could make him a serious consideration for any team.
Finally, we get to Gary Brackett. The position of middle linebacker seems to be a hot topic around these parts. Having said that, it would be a huge underestimation, for any team that have even the slightest hint of need at this position, not take a serious gander at Brackett. The long-time defensive captain of the Colts, finds himself unemployed for the first time in his nine-season stretch.
There are many reasons that Brackett suiting up in blue would work, one of which is that he is a New Jersey native - but we won't hold that against him. He has prototypical size for the middle linebacker position, five-feet - eleven-inches, two-hundred and thirty-five pounds. Brackett is very Antonio Pierce-like - a good run stopper with a keen read on the ball.
Despite a season ending injury, early in 2011, Brackett might be a tough one to bring in. The Colts were due to pay him $7.2 million clams, smackers, beans, greenbacks, samolians. That, my friends, is serious money. Will last year's injury and the recent release bring his price tag down? Of course. However, it may still be a little steep for the New York Giants, who are currently trimming the salary cap tree. While Brackett may be the best man for the job, at this position, for this team, his salary is definitely not the kind that Jerry Reese is fond of.