Colts Could Look At Veteran Free Agent Safety Options


The Indianapolis Colts could eventually scour the free agent market for a veteran safety. According to their head coach in Chuck Pagano in yesterday’s annual AFC Coaches Breakfast, the team may eventually look at adding “a body” via free agency:

Among the best available current veteran free agent veteran safeties are Dawan Landry, Danieal Manning, Bernard Pollard, and Dwight Lowery. Perhaps like starting safety Mike Adams last season, the Colts could look to sign a veteran later in the offseason on a 1-year bargain contract, as part of a veteran reclamation project of sorts.

Here’s a breakdown of some of their potential best free agent safety options:

  • Dawan Landry: As the older brother of recently released (and disappointing) Colts safety LaRon Landry, signing Dawan Landry would be a bit of an awkward situation for the team. Nevertheless, the 32-year old Landry has proven to be a solid NFL safety during his 9-year NFL career. He won’t give a defense much in the area of takeaways; however, he was rock solid for the Jets last season and received a +10.9 overall grade per ProFootballFocus (subscription) at safety, which is really good. His 107 tackles were third most on last year’s Jets defense.
  • Danieal Manning: At this point in his career, Manning would be best brought in to compete for a starting job, rather than handed the starting job outright. However, the 9-year pro has always been a standout in coverage, as indicated by his 67.7 quarterback rating when targeted per ProFootballFocus, even dating back to his days starting as a safety for the Chicago Bears.
  • Bernard Pollard: The former Purdue Boilermaker and Fort Wayne, Indiana, native could possibly make Indianapolis his final NFL stop. The 30 year old Pollard has always been a hard-hitting, in-the-box presence and could provide the Colts with a run-stopping answer at the safety position. He’s battle-tested too, as a Super Bowl XLVII Champion with the Baltimore Ravens in 2012.
  • Dwight Lowery: The youngest player on this list at 29 years old, Lowery also started in the most games last season with 15 starts. His coverage skills aren’t great as they graded in the bottom half of the league at safety, but Lowery is still an asset against the run. The Colts could use help at safety and getting a run-stopping oriented safety like Lowery, who is in his prime and has a lot of starting experience wouldn’t be a bad solution.

Overall, it’s not the most inspiring group of safeties. However, Bernard Pollard probably offers the most upside of the group given his age and run-stopping prowess, while both Landry and Lowery have proven to be solid safeties if nothing else during their careers. Manning is getting a bit long in the tooth, but could still be an asset for the defense in a situational role given his exceptional coverage skills. It’s worth noting that all 4 of the aforementioned safeties have had prior experience in a 3-4 defensive scheme, so that’s not an issue.

We’ll see if the Colts eventually look to kick the tires on any of the veteran safeties among this group or whether the team will look solely to the draft to actually find a long-term answer at the safety position in a relatively weak safety draft class. Stay tuned, Colts Nation.

Dec 1, 2013; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Tennessee Titans strong safety Bernard Pollard (31) intercepts a pass intended for Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) in the first half at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports