AFC South Roundup: Free Agency Edition


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – We've discussed at length what each of the Titans' 11 free agent signings mean to the team. Now it's time to break down what the rest of the AFC South has been up to in free agency.

INDIANAPOLIS COLTS (11-5 Finish in '14)

Notable Additions:

Frank Gore, RB – From 49ers

Andre Johnson, WR – From Texans

Mike Adams, SS – Resigned

Darius Butler, CB – Resigned

Trent Cole, DE – From Eagles

Matt Hasselbeck, QB – Resigned

Welcome to #ColtsNation Frank Gore! #ColtsFreeAgency

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Notable Subtractions:

Sergio Brown, DB – Jaguars

Cory Redding, DE – Cardinals

Trent Richardson, RB – Raiders

Notable Current Free Agents:

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB

LaRon Landry, DB

Hakeem Nicks, WR

Reggie Wayne, WR


The Colts certainly didn't get any younger, but they did add three proven veterans in Gore, Johnson and Cole. All three players head to Indianapolis after spending all of their decade-plus long careers with one team.

Gore has spent his entire 10-year NFL career in San Francisco with the 49ers. He owns eight 1,000-yard rushing campaigns and hasn't missed a game since 2010. Even at age 31, Gore doesn't appear to be slowing down.

Similar to Gore in San Francisco, Johnson spent all 12 of his NFL seasons in Houston before the Texans decided the veteran receiver was expendable this offseason. Johnson has posted seven 1,000-yard receiving seasons and 64 career touchdowns. Now 33, Johnson is coming off a season with 85 receptions for 936 yards and three touchdowns in 2014. Gore and Johnson are also reunited as teammates having played together in college at Miami.

Cole has been a Philadelphia Eagle since entering the league in 2005, racking up 85.5 sacks in those 10 seasons. The pass rusher started 15 games in 2014 and recorded 6.5 sacks with three forced fumbles.

The most noticeable difference for the Colts in 2015 will be the absence of Reggie Wayne. #87 has lined up split wide in the Colts offense for 14 seasons, while posting remarkably consistent numbers. The six-time Pro Bowler had eight 1,000-yard seasons. His 1,070 receptions, 1,435 receiving yards and 82 receiving touchdowns are all second in Colts franchise history behind Marvin Harrison. Wayne hasn't announced that he is retiring and could find a new home in 2015. Regardless, Titans Online offers a huge tip of the cap to Wayne and gives a sigh of relief that Tennessee no longer has to face him twice a year.

HOUSTON TEXANS (9-7 Finish in '14)

Notable Additions:

Brian Hoyer, QB – From Browns

Cecil Shorts, WR – From Jaguars

Nate Washington, WR – From Titans

Rahim Moore, DB – From Broncos

Vince Wilfork, DT – From Patriots

Kareem Jackson, CB – Resigned

Akeem Dent, LB – Resigned

Ryan Mallett, QB – Resigned


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Notable Subtractions:

Andre Johnson, WR – Colts

Brooks Reed, LB – Falcons

Kendrick Lewis, DB - Ravens

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB – TRADED to Jets

Notable Current Free Agents:

Chris Myers, C

Tim Jamison, DT


Like Wayne with the Colts, it will be weird to see the Texans run out of the tunnel in 2015 without #80 joining them. 2002, the year of the Texans inception in the league was the only season in franchise history without Johnson. The veteran receiver's 1,012 receptions, 13,597 receiving yards and 64 touchdowns are far and away franchise records. Owen Daniels and his 385 receptions for 4,617 yards and 29 touchdowns with the Texans rank second. This means the DeAndre Hopkins era as the face of the Texans receiving corps has begun.

On the flipside, the Texans acquired former Titans wideout Nate Washington, who spent six seasons in Tennessee after starting his NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. In 2014, Washington caught 40 passs for 647 yards and two touchdowns, including an 80-yard TD grab against the Steeles on Monday Night Football. Washington will help fill the veteran void on offense left by Johnson's departure, and can have a positive influence on Houston's younger receivers.

Among players changing teams for the first time, Vince Wilfork has a new home after 11 years in New England. The five-time Pro Bowler has been the mark of consistency for the Patriots, playing in at least 13 games in all but one season. The question now is how much Wilfork has left in the tank at age 33. The 6-foot-2, 325-pound nose tackle should still have plenty of success stuffing the run in 2015.

The addition of Brian Hoyer (and trade of Ryan Fitzpatrick) means that there will be a QB competition between the veteran signal caller and fifth-year QB Ryan Mallett. Houston could decide to draft a quarterback to throw into the mix or give second-year QB Tom Savage a shot as well. Hoyer started 13 games for the Browns in 2014, throwing for 3,326 yards, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. By comparison, Fitzpatrick threw for 2,483 yards, 17 touchdowns and eight interceptions in 12 starts for the Texans last season.

Cecil Shorts should pencil into the Texans #2 receiver role across from Hopkins. Shorts spent his first four seasons in Jacksonville. He battled injures in 2014, catching 53 passes for 557 yards and one touchdown in 13 games.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS (3-13 Finish in '14)

Notable Additions:

Jared Odrick, DT – From Dolphins

Julius Thomas, TE – From Broncos

Tyson Alualu, DB – Resigned

Sergio Brown, DB – From Colts

Davon House, DB – From Packers

Bernard Pierce, RB – From Ravens

Notable Subtractions:

Cecil Shorts, WR – Texans

Will Blackmon, DB – Seahawks

Alan Ball, DB – Bears

Notable Current Free Agents:

Red Bryant, DE

Geno Hayes, LB


The Jaguars entered free agency as one of two teams with the most available cap space along with the Raiders. Jacksonville broke the bank on DT Jared Odrick (five-year, $42.5 million with $22 million guaranteed) and TE Julius Thomas (five-year, $46 million deal with $24 million guaranteed).

Odrick was drafted in the first round (28th overall) in 2010 by the Dolphins and spent his first five seasons in Miami. He played a myriad of positions with the Dolphins, including defensive tackle, defensive end and linebacker.

"He possesses outstanding first-step quickness, toughness, flexibility and speed to the passer," is what ESPN Insider Bill Polian said of Odrick. "He isn't the wide-bodied run-stopper that Terrance Knighton is, but he is an outstanding 'movement' D-tackle."

Thomas has posted 12 touchdowns in back-to-back seasons with the Broncos. At 6-foot-4 and 251 pounds, Thomas is a matchup nightmare, especially in the red zone. He'll be a different caliber weapon that QB Blake Bortles didn't have in his arsenal in 2014. The one knock on Thomas is his ability to stay healthy. The talented tight end is still yet to play a full 16-game season in his first four NFL seasons.

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