Indianapolis Colts: Erik Walden/Lawrence Sidbury Deals are Head Scratchers

By Eric Smith
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL Free Agency period began today at 4 p.m. and many teams made some noise early. The Indianapolis Colts signed five guys in the first couple of hours, but a few of them were questionable.

I like the two deals in signing the offensive linemen. They ranked among the worst in protection last season as Andrew Luck was sacked over 40 times and at least once every game. Bringing in Gosder Cherilus and Donald Thomas were good moves.

But the last two signings left Colts fans questioning what GM Ryan Grigson is doing.

Indianapolis signed linebacker Erik Walden from the Green Bay Packers and Lawrence Sidbury from the Atlanta Falcons. Walden was signed for $16 million over four years. Many experts called that ridiculous.

Walden was only making $700,000 before bonuses at Green Bay. Many thought he was a bust and glad to see him leave town. He bounced around three different teams before landing there in 2010. He has 154 tackles, two interceptions and nine sacks during his six-year career.

He was known to blow assignments and whiff at ball carriers. He’s also known to not read the quarterback very well, so you have to wonder what the Colts were thinking by giving him a near $15 million raise.

One thing he does bring is size and help in the linebacking group.

Dwight Freeney started opposite Robert Mathis at one of the outside linebacking spots. Freeney wasn’t built or drafted to be an outside linebacker and it showed. He was severely undersized as a defensive lineman in a 3-4 and too small as a linebacker.

Walden is a big 6-2, 250 pounds. He helps out in that scenario.

The Colts missed out on Paul Kruger earlier in the period, so this was the next fit they saw.

Then, the Colts brought in Sidbury to round of the day’s action. Sidbury only had one tackle last year for Atlanta and played in 31 snaps. I’m not sure why the Colts thought he’d be a good pick up. They must know something.

Before you hit the panic button though, don’t dispel these guys. Look at who Grigson brought in last year. Cassius Vaughn, Darius Butler and Jerrell Freeman weren’t known players around the league. At the end of the year, they were much needed help and big contributors to this team.

All Colts fans can do now is wait and see. They’re not done yet with signing players. These guys could play a crucial role.

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