With the Indianapolis Colts switching to a 3-4 defense under Greg Manusky, it was imperative that the Colts had the right personnel to run that scheme. After analyzing their roster and releasing quality players such as DE Dwight Freeney, the Colts turned their attention to free-agency to rebuild their defensive front seven.
Their first free-agent splash began with the signing of former Green Bay Packers LB Erik Walden. Walden played a key role for the Packers, once LB Nick Perry went down to injury and never relinquished the starting role. Three days later, the Colts strike again, only this time, a former 49ers defensive end in DE Ricky Jean-Francois. According to Adam Caplan of the Sideline View, Jean-Franois struck it rich, signing a four-year contract worth $22 million.
Jean-Francois visited numerous teams throughout the free-agency period, and even hinted he may be playing for a new team with one of his latest tweets, saying:
Gotta get use to the cold lol. It’s cool tho.
— Ricky Jean Francois (@Freakyjean95) March 13, 2013
The Colts apparently made defense their highest priority heading into free-agency, as they have nabbed three serviceable players from other teams, Walden, FS LaRon Landry (Jets) and now Jean-Francois (49ers). With all of those players now under contract, the Colts now have three starters in place moving forward.
Jean-Francois will likely play defensive end in Manusky’s 3-4 scheme, having played for Manusky when he was defensive coordinator in San Francisco under then head coach Mike Singletary.