NFL Free Agency is a funny game. Some teams decide to create bidding wars on certain free agents in the first few days. Others like to selectively target players and move quickly and quietly. The smartest teams, however, wait as long as possible.
Watching pass rushers and offensive linemen – two inordinately valuable commodities in today’s league – remain available deep into the early summer months has been precarious and fascinating.
Many free agents saw the ramifications of remaining on the market into April, May and potentially June. OT Andre Smith took a much cheaper deal than originally anticipated. Dwight Freeney remained available deep into May and signed at a substantial discount. John Abraham and Richard Seymour are still available.
The Indianapolis Colts took advantage of the waiting game as they waited until early June to sign former New York Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw. While Bradshaw has battled injuries often in his career, he has been highly effective when on the field.
This is a low-risk signing for the Colts as they were prepared and content to enter the season with second-year player Vick Ballard as their lead back. While Ballard will still have a role in the offense, his role will now be injury insurance for the oft-dinged up Bradshaw.
There have been mixed reviews on the Colts’ offseason. Many acknowledged that regression was in store after overachieving in 2012, but their relatively substantial overhaul and marginal improvements in some places could keep them close to contention. While a record close to 8-8 is likely in the cards for the Colts, they are building a strong core for the future.
With signings like Bradshaw, however, they could open up their window for sustained success earlier than expected.
Gabe Isaacson is a RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.