The Herald Bulletin

March 11, 2014

George Bremer: Free agency season is upon us

The Herald Bulletin

---- — The Colts are about to lose cornerback Vontae Davis. Unless, of course, the sides are about to agree on a new deal.

Depends on whom you're following on Twitter and when you last checked your timeline.

Yes, it's that time of year again. NFL free agency begins today at 4 p.m., and only the Indiana weather can match the market for sudden change and constant unpredictability.

The important thing to survive the next month or so until the draft is to remember a couple of ground rules.

No. 1: Free agency isn't free. Players are going to be overpaid, especially in the first few days. Seattle waited out the early frenzy last year and came away with a couple of defensive lineman — Michael Bennett and Cliff Avril — who helped pave the way for a Super Bowl title.

No. 2: Don't panic. If things don't go your team's way early on, have faith in the process. Most general managers enter the offseason with plans A, B, C, D and E, if necessary. There's a bigger picture at work in many cases, and it's wise to wait for the plan to unfold before making any definitive judgments.

The NFL offseason is an inexact science to say the least.

Indianapolis spent heavily a year ago — and could do so again this spring with an estimated $36 million in salary cap room remaining — and won the AFC South before advancing to the divisional round of the playoffs. Miami also spent heavily and wound up watching the postseason from home.

The Broncos went to the Super Bowl after making a big early splash with wide receiver Wes Welker. The Seahawks won it, however, with a roster built mostly through the draft.

The point is, there's no magic secret for success.

The Colts have a leg up on the competition because 24-year-old quarterback Andrew Luck should keep the franchise competitive into the foreseeable future. And his presence helps make Indianapolis a more attractive destination for other stars.

But general manager Ryan Grigson still has a challenging task ahead. He mostly struck out with last year's signings — though injuries played a factor — and he has just five draft picks to work with in May. There are holes to fill in the defensive secondary and on the interior of the offensive line, and depth is needed at wide receiver and along the defensive line.

The next few weeks will provide a look at Grigson's blueprint and begin to shape the 2014 Colts.

If Indianapolis is to become the Super Bowl contender it believes it can be, Grigson must choose wisely.

But no trophies will be handed out today. Breaking news should roll in constantly throughout the day, and nearly every move will be cheered and jeered in equal measure.

Enjoy the show. Rejoice for football news in March. And let your opinion be heard.

Just remember none of it really matters until the first ball goes into the air in September.