Free agents Colts could consider

Baltimore pass-rushing linebacker Pernell McPhee is among the possibilities who would make sense to bolster defense.

As free agency approaches on March 10, it’s about time to prioritize who the Indianapolis Colts should look to sign.

While fans are hoping the Colts will make splashes by signing big names, here’s a short list of guys the team might be considering.

Baltimore outside linebacker Pernell McPhee — The Ravens can’t afford to keep him and he’s going to get paid well, probably more than $10 million per season, because he can play outside linebacker or defensive end and is an outstanding pass rusher. He had 7.5 sacks last season, although he didn’t start a game. He has just six starts in his 60-game career, but don’t fret. He’s ready. The Colts have an obvious need for a pass rusher and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano is familiar with McPhee from their days together in Baltimore.

Kansas City center Rodney Hudson — Few centers graded out better than Hudson last season, but the Chiefs evidently can’t afford to keep him. The Colts had a revolving door at center last season, so adding this former second-round pick would shore up the middle of the O-line. He’s just 25 with four years NFL experience, so Hudson could be a long-term solution to giving Andrew Luck room in the pocket to be able to step up and throw.

Pittsburgh outside linebacker Jason Worilds — He had 15.5 sacks combined in the past two seasons and gets relentless pressure on the quarterback. Like McPhee, teams in need of pass rushers are going to overpay for someone with his skill set. Question is, will the Colts be willing to ante up for either him or McPhee?

San Francisco offensive guard Mike Iupati — He’s considered one of the best run blockers available, although some knock his ability to pass protect. The Colts need to bolster the interior of their offensive line, especially at right guard. If he’s going to get a big contract, much will be expected. And protecting Luck is still a top priority. He’s been sacked 100 times in three seasons. If the Colts have concerns about Iupati’s pass-blocking skills, then perhaps they will pass.

Denver offensive tackle/guard Orlando Franklin — Many consider Franklin the best offensive guard available on the market. He can also play tackle, although speed rushers have often given him problems. The expected asking price will be about $7 million per year. That’s a lot to spend on a guard, but he’s definitely a consideration.

Denver defensive tackle Terrance Knighton — The Broncos have other free-agent concerns and can’t pay this run-stuffing nose tackle as much as he would get on the open market. He played 48.5 percent of the defensive snaps last season, so he’s an early down player, but the Colts need someone else who commands double teams. Imagine him next to Arthur Jones. Knighton was a Broncos defensive captain last season.

Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.

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