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2010 NFL Free Agency: The Indianapolis Colts Have Some Decisions to Make

Posted By Eddie Garrison On February 17, 2010 @ 6:11 pm In Colts News | No Comments

After losing the Super Bowl to the New Orleans Saints [1], the Indianapolis Colts [2] are going to have another battle play out before their eyes: the 13 players that will be either restricted free agents or unrestricted free agents this offseason.

Among these 13 players, five of them are starters and four of them are unrestricted free agents (though only one of the unrestricted players is a starter).

The 13 players are: Keith Gray, Marlin Jackson, Tim Jennings, Antonio Johnson, Daniel Muir, Antoine Bethea, Gary Brackett, Ramon Guzman, Charlie Johnson, Dan Federkeil, Matt Stover, Hank Basket and Michael Toudouze.

There are a few big names that stand out on that list. In my eyes, here are the guys  that the Colts MUST signs before next season:

1.) Gary Brackett
2.) Antoine Bethea
3.) Charlie Johnson
4.) Antonio Johnson
5.) Daniel Muir

Gary Brackett has been the heart and soul of the defense for the last few seasons now. Since the 2005–2006 season, Brackett has recorded at least 100 tackles (minus this year, as they rested him the last two regular season games).

In those last five seasons, he has amassed a total of 564 tackles, eight interceptions and three and a half sacks. He will be entering his eighth NFL [3] season and he is at the prime of his career. He has to be priority No. 1 for the Colts this offseason.

Another important piece on that Colt’s defense is free safety Antoine Bethea. With the seemingly never ending string of injuries Bob Sanders suffers each season, Bethea has filled in very nicely for the Colts at the position.

In the last two seasons in which he was a starter the entire year, Bethea racked up 196 tackles and six interceptions, with four of those picks coming in 2009-10.

Switching over to the offensive side of the ball, the Colts are faced with left tackle Charlie Johnson becoming an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Johnson won the starting role protecting Manning’s blind side when a busted draft pick (rare) in the Colt’s Tony Ugoh was unable to get the job done on a consistent basis.

Johnson, entering just his fourth season in the NFL, was a part of an offensive line that only allowed Peyton Manning [4] to be sacked 10 times in the entire regular season. He too is a massive piece to the puzzle for the Colts and another must-sign.

Jumping back across to the defensive side of the ball, we are going to look at the two defensive tackles that were a huge part of that much-improved Colt’s run defense: Antonio Johnson and Daniel Muir.

Of the two, only Muir is a restricted free agent. Both players are still young in their NFL careers, with Muir entering his fourth year and Johnson just his third.

Both of these players, after another year in the Colt’s system, improved Indy’s run defense drastically. Even though the stats would not show an upswing, taken on a game-to-game basis, they guys sure did make an impact on the team.

These aforementioned players are all important cogs in the machine that is the Indianapolis Colts. However, the upcoming draft could shed some light on the subject of which of these free agents stays, and which of them will be let go.

In another article [5] I wrote earlier this month, I outline what the Colts could do come April and the NFL draft. That could determine again which of these players will or will not wear the horseshoe next season.

Read more Indianapolis Colts [2] news on BleacherReport.com

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URLs in this post:

[1] New Orleans Saints: http://bleacherreport.com/new-orleans-saints

[2] Indianapolis Colts: http://bleacherreport.com/indianapolis-colts

[3] NFL: http://bleacherreport.com/nfl

[4] Peyton Manning: http://bleacherreport.com/peyton-manning

[5] In another article: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/342512-2010-nfl-draft-an-early-look-at-the-indianapolis-colts-needs

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