Handicapping the Free Agents

Aside from Kelvin Hayden and Jeff Saturday, every pending free agent is getting a chance to test the market. ColtPower places odds on whether or not they'll be back with the Indianapolis Colts -- and takes a look at some players who have already departed and the odds of seeing them back in the 'Shoe.

Dominic Rhodes (3 to 1):

Rhodes knows firsthand what kind of luck he has when he leaves the Colts and tests the open market. 

He is a dependable back that blocks well and has skills at receiver.  If nothing else, a team will know what they are getting with Rhodes — a tough player who will grind out between 3.5 and 3.8 yards per carry, do what is asked from him, and have the ability to play every down.

However, the market is currently flush with running backs with similar skill sets — as well as ones with more impressive resumes and more starting experience — that are on the wrong side of 30.

The upside of signing Rhodes is that he will not be seen as a threat to the starting tailback, but there aren't a lot of teams that don't want their starter to be at least a little uncomfortable.

Rhodes has a history with the Colts and was in a good situation last year.  He should be back.

Matt Giordano (7 to 1):

Giordano is a special teams ace and is a try-hard player, but is only a serviceable backup at best, so he won't find the big deals and opportunities to start with other teams once free agency starts.  A team may be willing to take a chance on his potential, but chances are that they already have an upside guy on their roster at the safety position.

The Colts have an awful lot of depth at the safety position and are willing to roll the dice.  Chances are Giordano comes back at a very palatable salary.

Josh Thomas (10 to 1):

Given that Indianapolis already has two promising young players on the roster at the end position in Marcus Howard and Curtis Johnson and two Pro Bowlers in Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis, they may not need Thomas to come back.  He also is not likely to find a brisk market for his services.

He usually ends up back on the Colts roster at some point during the offseason and has managed to stay with the team for the past five years, though, so it's not wise to bet against him again being their fifth man at end once again.

Darrell Reid (20 to 1):

He has those odds because of the name he's made for himself on special teams and the position he plays.  Defensive tackles are always in demand and some team will sign him with the, "Add depth and he can help out a lot in the kicking game," mentality.

Reid has value, no doubt, both to the Colts and any team that signs him, but the reason the odds aren't 15 or 12 to one is because he plays defensive tackle.

Keiwan Ratliff (30 to 1):

He's too young and has too much potential for a team to pass on him.  He may not strike one of the big money deals once the bidding starts, but he'll be signed in the first couple of days.

Most likely a Cover 2 team that needs a No. 2 or No. 3 cornerback with the potential to be a No. 1 in the future will scoop him up.  Tampa's No. 2 and No. 3 are both pending free agents and No. 1 cornerback Rhonde Barber's twin brother is already retired.  That's the odds-on favorite for a landing spot for Ratliff at this point, but Chicago and Detroit cannot be ruled out, either.

Ratliff is doing the smart thing that every young player that is light on experience but heavy on upside should do: Play the market and sign the biggest contract possible.  Indianapolis was not willing to offer him that contract after paying Kelvin Hayden and needing to pay Marlin Jackson next offseason, so they had to let him walk.

Cato June (35 to 1):

Speaking of young players that left the Colts for a big contract, June was recently cut by the Buccaneers.  This offseason, things are fairly manageable at linebacker for the Colts: Freddie Keiaho will be signed for another year as a restricted free agent and they will only lose Tyjuan Hagler. Next offseason, Buster Davis and Clint Session will be restricted free agents and Gary Brackett will be another year older.

June knows the system, knows most of the coaches, and is still close enough to the prime of his career to be worth a three year deal while Indianapolis re-stocks the cabinet.  The question is whether he's willing to come back to the team that drafted him at a discount, considering that the Colts don't have a history of giving their linebackers rich contracts.

Tyjuan Hagler (40 to 1):

There is a team out there that will sign him to a pretty rich contract for a fairly long period of time based on the fact that he has a very high ceiling.  That team is not the Indianapolis Colts.

Hagler, who has been a friend of this website, could very well fulfill his vast potential for another team and ColtPower wishes him well, but Bill Polian and company aren't going to spend the money to find out.

Marvin Harrison (55 to 1):

Indianapolis would take him back, everyone would welcome him back, and he would certainly come back, but the key is that Harrison would need to be unemployed for at least a month for him to come back at a price that would be amenable to the Colts.

The odds (obviously) are not good that Marvin stays on the market that long.

Hunter Smith (100 to 1):

Nothing is impossible.  It's just very, very, very unlikely that, with the talent available in free agency, street free agents, and the punters the Colts have already looked at taking in the draft, Smith will be back with the team in 2009.

For every kicker on every NFL roster, there are three qualified guys that are waiting to take his job.  It seems as though Indianapolis is prepared to see what those other three guys bring to the table.


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