By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
As the rest of the NFL focused on Monday’s franchise tag deadline, the Indianapolis Colts kept moving with a busy offseason.
The team announced it has agreed to a one-year contract extension with defensive end Fili Moala. The four-year veteran out of Southern Cal was scheduled to become a free agent on March 12.
“I’m thrilled to be back as a member of the Colts, and I’m looking forward to a healthy return in 2013,” Moala said in a team release. “Last year was a special season, and we want to continue that momentum. I’m anxious to get back on the field with Coach (Chuck) Pagano and the rest of my teammates.”
Moala seemed to be a better fit as a 3-4 defensive end in Pagano’s hybrid scheme than he was in his first three seasons as a 4-3 defensive tackle under former head coach Jim Caldwell.
Moala had 21 tackles and one pass defensed through the first eight weeks before ending his season on injured reserve. He has 86 tackles, one fumble recovery for a touchdown and two passes defensed in 48 games overall.
“Fili is a big and versatile player in our scheme who has a motor that never stops,” Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson said in the same release. “He’s been working his tail off rehabbing his knee, and we’re very optimistic about his recovery. We’re excited to keep him in the fold.”
Financial terms of the deal were not announced.
The Colts previously had placed the franchise tag on punter Pat McAfee, ensuring he will return for at least one more season. Among the players still scheduled for free agency on March 12 are cornerback Jerraud Powers, wide receiver Donnie Avery and offensive tackle Winston Justice.
Indianapolis already has announced it will not attempt to re-sign outside linebacker Dwight Freeney and wide receiver Austin Collie when their deals expire March 12.
The team will, however, bring at least one familiar face back into the fold.
Center Jeff Saturday, who played 13 seasons in Indianapolis before signing with Green Bay last year, will ink a one-day contract Thursday and officially retire with the Colts.
The move has been expected for weeks and will be completed during a noon news conference at the team’s practice facility. It also is expected Saturday will have some future role in the team’s front office.
“The years I spent with the Colts were truly remarkable, and I am honored to be able to retire as a member of one of the classiest organizations in the NFL,” Saturday said in a release. “I also want to thank Green Bay for the opportunity to compete as a member of the Packers last season. During my time in Indianapolis, I made tremendous relationships with numerous teammates, coaches and staff within the organization. It was also a pleasure playing for Mr. Irsay, who is a wonderful owner. He gave tremendous support for my wife and I in all of our community endeavors.
“There were so many successful seasons that I was a part of, but nothing tops our Super Bowl championship during the 2006 season. I’ll never forget the support of Colts fans and the city of Indianapolis during my time here. My wife and I love this community and have established our roots here. We’re looking forward to the next chapter in Indianapolis.”