As a result, the Horseshoe shimmers a bit brighter today.
While we aren’t taking great satisfaction in players losing their jobs, it’s more about restoring integrity and professionalism within the Colts organization, while getting better on the field at the same time. After D’Qwell Jackson was charged with assault last week, Horseshoe Heroes made a passionate public plea for the Indianapolis Colts to clean up the mess.
Well, today went a long way toward achieving that goal.
Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts safety LaRon Landry (30) against the Denver Broncos in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
The team finally pulled the plug on the “LaRon Landry Experience” at starting safety, as the 8-year veteran was largely ineffective in his two seasons with the team. After signing a lucrative 4-year, $24 million dollar contract in the 2013 offseason, Landry failed to live up to expectations and was highly unproductive.
The team originally had signed Landry to be a physical presence in the back of their secondary, as a hard-hitting enforcer. However, for all of his bulging biceps, Landry only had a 4-game performance enhancing drug suspension to show for it this season.
The Colts never saw the reincarnation of former fan favorite and safety great Bob Sanders. Instead, the Colts witnessed a player who often took poor angles to the football and was frequently out of position. With $2.1M in potential cap savings if released, Landry was an easy candidate to be placed on the chopping block this offseason.
Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts linebacker Andrew Jackson (54) against the Denver Broncos in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
To General Manager Ryan Grigson‘s credit though, he didn’t stop there. He also trimmed additional fat by cutting a few other off-the-field problems in some back-ups, namely inside linebacker Andrew Jackson and offensive tackle Xavier Nixon.
While Jackson showed some initial promise as a rookie 6th round pick out of Western Kentucky, his talent wasn’t worth the headaches anymore as a back-up player. He was arrested for a DUI in Kentucky a few weeks ago, which was his 2nd DUI arrest in less than a year.
Yet, the buck didn’t stop there, as back-up offensive tackle Xavier Nixon was also released. The 2nd year pro inexplicably missed the team’s flight to the AFC Championship Game and was subsequently declared inactive. For a fringe NFL player, it proved to be a very unwise career decision. Nixon made 1 start for the Colts this season, after appearing in 8 games over the past two seasons. The former undrafted free agent out of Florida will have to look for a job elsewhere.
Together, with Landry’s $2.1M coming off the books, and both Jackson ($510K) and Nixon’s ($407K) amounts joining it, the Colts have saved around $3 million in cap space today. More importantly though, they’ve helped take significant steps to reinforce that the Horseshoe is an emblem that is representative of a high character and professional organization with still more to come…
Jan 18, 2015; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (left) is upended by Indianapolis Colts free safety LaRon Landry (30) after catching a pass in the third quarter in the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports