After a week of bad news for Indianapolis Colts fans that included the release of quarterback Peyton Manning, tight end Dallas Clark, running back Joseph Addai, middle linebacker Gary Brackett, safety Melvion Bullitt and quarterback Curtis Painter, finally something positive.
Veteran wide receiver Reggie Wayne is returning to Indianapolis. Wayne and Colts officials reached agreement on a three-year deal around 10 p.m. Tuesday.
No financial details were immediately available, but the team’s leading receiver over the past five seasons (and six of the past seven) will remain with the Colts. He’ll provide a reliable target for Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who is expected to be the first player taken in the 2012 National Football League draft.
Wayne caught 70 passes for 960 yards and four touchdowns in 2011. He has had 100 more receptions in three of the past five seasons.
• With veteran free agency in the National Football League getting under way at 4 p.m. Tuesday, it didn’t take Pierre Garçon, the Indianapolis Colts’ No. 2 wide receiver, much time to sign a lucrative five-year deal with the Washington Redskins.
Jacob Lacey, meanwhile, was not offered a tender by the Colts and is now free to sign with another team without Indianapolis receiving any compensation. While there is still a chance that the cornerback – who is a restricted free agent – could return to the team, the chances aren’t very likely at the current time.
As for Garçon, his agreement with Washington was reached about 45 minutes into the free agency period. The former 2008 sixth-round draft will reportedly receive $42.5 million in a deal that includes $21 million in guarantees. As one of Indianapolis’ 19 unrestricted free agents, Garçon had supposedly been offered a five-year, $34 million contract in recent weeks.
Last season, he had 70 catches for 947 yards and six touchdowns. Garçon finished second on the team in total receptions behind Wayne (75) and was second to Wayne (960) in receiving yardage as well. In four seasons with the Colts, the former Mount Union (Ohio) College two-sport standout caught 188 passes for 2,519 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The fact that Garçon was able to come away with such a huge payday was somewhat of a mild surprise. According to Pro Football Focus.com, he was thrown to deep 26 times last season [passes covering 20 yards or more] and caught six of them.
In 2010, with Peyton Manning at quarterback, Garçon was also targeted 26 times on deep throws and had six receptions. He also registered three times more drops than last season.
On the plus side, though, Garçon has proven to be able to make the tough catch look easy. And his big-play potential is undeniable. He averaged 36 yards per long reception in 2010.
The Redskins also added former San Francisco wide receiver Josh Morgan and are expected to sign ex-Broncos and Rams receiver Eddie Royal. Washington is expected to select Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III with the second overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft and is trying to beef up its receiving corps.
Lacey started 10 games at left cornerback in 2011 but struggled in pass coverage early in the season. He lost his job briefly before injuries at the position necessitated his return to the Colts’ defensive lineup.
The former Texas A&M defensive back, originally signed as an undrafted free agent, finished the season fourth on team in tackles with 72 and had one interception.
• Redding visits Colts – Baltimore Ravens defensive end Cory Redding is in talks with Indianapolis. Redding, an unrestricted free agent, was scheduled to visit with Colts officials Tuesday night and today. He is expected to sign with the team.
The addition of Redding could mean a quicker resolution to defensive end Dwight Freeney’s contract talks. Freeney will count $19 million against the team’s salary cap. He may be released or traded if some compromise can’t be reached.
Redding played for Colts coach Chuck Pagano last season when Pagano was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator. Indianapolis is also reported to have interest in two other Baltimore free agents, linebackers Jarret Johnson and Jameel McClain.
Indianapolis is also reportedly interested in Seattle tight end John Carlson, who played at Notre Dame, and Philadelphia offensive guard Evan Mathis.