By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
The Indianapolis Colts made their first truly big splash of free agency late Wednesday night, signing Pro Bowl safety LaRon Landry away from the New York Jets.
The deal, first reported by CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora, is for four years and $24 million and includes $14 million in guaranteed money. It’s a hefty payday for Landry, who bet on himself by signing a one-year deal last offseason with the New York Jets.
Landry began his career as the No. 6 overall draft pick by the Washington Redskins in 2007. The 28-year-old played his first five seasons in the nation’s capital but was limited to just 17 combined games in 2010 and 2011 because of injuries.
Landry has 482 tackles in 80 career games, with 79 starts. He’s known as a physical run-stuffer, and he has five career forced fumbles and six interceptions.
He made an even 100 tackles and intercepted two passes, including one he returned for a touchdown, in his Pro Bowl season with the Jets last year.
Landry joins returning safety Antoine Bethea in a revamped Colts defensive secondary that also includes Tuesday signee Greg Toler and Vontae Davis at cornerback.
“We’re ecstatic about this signing,” Indianapolis general manager Ryan Grigson said in a team press release. “We feel LaRon is an absolute game-changer and true impact player. We’re talking about a 220-pound safety that runs 4.3 and plays to that speed. His approach to the game and his style of play are lights out and embody the culture we’re building on the defense and this team in general.”
Owner Jim Irsay foreshadowed the move earlier in the day on his Twitter account, announcing that Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano still have several “lines in the water.” And Landry might not be the last player the Colts reel in.
Indianapolis also began dangling a hook in front of defensive tackle Ricky Jean-Francois late Wednesday. The former San Francisco 49er left a visit in Philadelphia earlier in the day without signing a contract and is expected to continue meeting with the Colts this morning. He likely would play defensive end in Indy’s hydrid 3-4 scheme.
Elsewhere, there were reports that Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed will visit the Houston Texans today. Houston lost safety Glover Quin to the Detroit Lions on Wednesday and could be heavily motivated to reach an agreement with Reed.
If they fail, however, the nine-time Pro Bowler was scheduled to meet with the 49ers and Colts next — though Indianapolis likely is no longer in the mix after inking Landry.
The day’s biggest surprise had little connection to Indianapolis. Wide receiver Wes Welker left the New England Patriots to join the Denver Broncos on a reported two-year, $12 million contract.
Welker will go from being Tom Brady’s top target in New England to catching passes from former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning in Denver.
Several former Colts reached agreements elsewhere on Wednesday.
Wide receiver Donnie Avery is headed to the Kansas City Chiefs, and linebacker Moise Fokou will join the AFC South-rival Tennessee Titans. Cornerback Jerraud Powers and backup quarterback Drew Stanton each will reunite with former offensive coordinator/interim head coach Bruce Arians with the Arizona Cardinals.
Indianapolis has scheduled an 11 a.m. Friday news conference with Grigson and Pagano to discuss the team’s offseason moves.
Perhaps, that’s a sign the Colts are expecting more activity today.