Ever since Bill Polian took over as the team president/general manager of the Indianapolis Colts in 1998, signing veteran free agents from other teams just hasn't been a major priority.
In fact, the Colts would much prefer to build their team from within through the NFL draft. When they do sign free agents, more often than not, it's usually one of their own.
Case in point: Since the end of the 2007 season, the team has locked up safety Bob Sanders, tight end Dallas Clark and offensive guard Ryan Lilja with long-term contracts. So while other NFL teams scurry about trying to beef up their respective roster, Indianapolis will just sit back and see how things shake out.
Over the past seven seasons, team owner Jim Irsay has paid out approximately $225 million in bonuses to keep key Colts off the free-agent market, including quarterback Peyton Manning, wide receivers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, defensive end Dwight Freeney, Sanders and Clark.
Adam Vinatieri is one of the few free agents to join the Colts in recent years
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images
Indianapolis has signed 15 veteran free agents from other teams since Polian was hired. Fourteen of those players were added to the team from 1998 to 2003, which were essentially the rebuilding and roster fortifying years for the Colts. Twelve were added from 1998 to 2002.
The only veteran free agent inked since 2004 has been place-kicker Adam Vinatieri, who was signed in 2006 to replace former Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt. And of the 14 players who were signed by Indianapolis in that six-year span (1998-2003), none are with the team today.
Now, as evidenced by the addition of Vinatieri two offseasons ago, if the right player comes along at the right price, a deal could be made. The Colts always have their feelers out, keeping an eye on roster moves around the league.
Scott exits: Despite reports late last week that Jake Scott's contract demands were too pricey for the Titans, the team was able to ink Scott to a free-agent contract today.
Terms of Scott's deal weren't immediately available, but Tennessean.com report it was a four-year deal averaging around $5 million a year.
Tennessee had four former Colts players on the team last fall: TE Ben Hartsock, CB Nick Harper, LB David Thornton and LB Gilbert Gardner. Also, former Indianapolis DT Corey Simon spent a few weeks with the Titans before announcing his retirement due to medical problems.
Peyton Manning has started 160 straight games for the Colts
AP Photo/John Russell
Scott is the first of six unrestricted free agents from the Colts to sign with another team. The Colts were able to re-sign tight end Dallas Clark, safety Bob Sanders and guard Ryan Lilja before the start of free agency.
Manning is the new iron man: With the retirement of Green Bay QB Brett Favre, Colts QB Peyton Manning now assumes the current NFL mark for the most consecutive starts for a quarterback. Manning has 160 regular season starts behind center since he was drafted in the first round in 1998. Favre had a league record 253 consecutive starts.
— Tony Pauline, of SportsIllustrated.com, reported last week that University of Missouri TE Martin Rucker did not work out at his school's Pro Day. Rucker, who's hamstring injury kept him out of the NFL Combine workouts as well. is hopeful he will be able to participate in his school's second Pro Day March 20.
— Philip B. Watson, of the Indianapolis Star, reported that Ryan Lilja had knee surgery yesterday. Watson called it a "minor scope" of Lilja's knee.
— Former Colts NFL Europe player Jermaine Mays signed with the Hamilton Tiger Cats of the Canadian Football League. The defensive back spent the previous two seasons with the Toronto Argonauts.