Colts sign former Ravens DE Redding, WR Wayne
New coach Chuck Pagano is returning to his past to rebuild the
On Wednesday, the Colts officially re-signed receiver Reggie
Wayne to a three-year deal worth $17.5 million and signed
free-agent defensive end Cory Redding to help anchor Indianapolis’
conversion of a 3-4 defense. Terms of Redding’s deal were not
Wayne befriended Pagano when the two were with Miami at the same
time, Pagano as a coach and Wayne as a player. Redding has played
the past two seasons in Baltimore, where Pagano was the defensive
coordinator last year.
”I believed my time was up in Baltimore and my relationship
with Chuck the last two years made this very easy,” Redding said
during a conference call with reporters. ”That’s why I’m here.
It’s mostly on Chuck and my relationship with him and doing
something special with the Colts.”
Adding Redding, a 6-foot-4, 298-pound end who is entering his
10th NFL season, marks a change in philosophy for a Colts team that
has typically run the 4-3 and relied on smaller, faster players to
chase down opponents. The switch to Pagano’s preferred style could
give Indy a whole new look.
Last week, the Colts cut defensive captains Gary Brackett and
Melvin Bullitt. They also re-signed Pro Bowl defensive end Robert
Mathis to a four-year, $36 million contract. In the new defense,
the 245-pound Mathis may be a better fit at linebacker.
With Redding lining up at end, Pagano now has the bigger
pass-rusher he needs on the edge of the line and a player who is
already familiar with the system.
”The biggest thing is football players are going to be what
they are – football players,” Redding said. ”I believe with
Chuck’s history and bringing guys in slowly last year, they
understood the package so when they got on the field, there wasn’t
no guessing. They knew what they were supposed to do, and with me
helping out and kind of backing him up, I believe we can help the
guys learn a lot faster.”
The addition of Redding is a rare move for a Colts’ team that
has traditionally focused on keeping its own free agents in
It also could cause more upheaval for a team that has undergone
a massive makeover since January.
After going an NFL-worst 2-14 and earning the No. 1 pick in next
month’s draft, team owner Jim Irsay fired the father-son front
office tandem of Bill and Chris Polian. He also got rid of coach
Jim Caldwell and most of his staff in January.
Then last week, the Colts cleaned the roster out. Gone are
four-time league MVP Peyton Manning, Brackett, Bullitt, running
back Joseph Addai, tight end Dallas Clark and backup quarterback
And the next big departure could be Pro Bowl defensive end
Dwight Freeney, who is reportedly being shopped by the Colts. New
general manager Ryan Grigson would not confirm he was looking to
deal or cut Freeney, who counts $19 million against this season’s
salary cap. Getting rid of Freeney could save Indy $14 million
against the cap immediately.
On Tuesday night, word leaked that Wayne, one of Manning’s
favorite targets, was staying with the Colts — the same team that
drafted him with the No. 30 overall pick in 2001. The 33-year-old
Wayne is No. 2 all-time in franchise history in receptions (862),
yards receiving (11,708) and TD receptions (73).
Plus, Wayne will give presumed No. 1 pick Andrew Luck a steady
hand to lean on.
”As everybody knows, Coach Pagano and I are really good
friends. I wanted to do it for him,” Wayne said. ”I know it’s
going to be a tough situation going into it, but who knows, it may
work out for the better in the long run. Even if I’m not here, I
can always say I helped build that foundation.”
Grigson isn’t finished making moves, either.
Earlier Wednesday, the Colts swapped sixth-round picks in this
year’s draft with Philadelphia. The Colts will give up the second
pick in the round and will get the Eagles pick (No. 17 in the
round) along with offensive tackle Winston Justice, a second-round
pick in 2006 who has started 31 games over his career.
For Wayne, the opportunity to finish his career in the same he
started means even more.
”I could have made a couple of dollars more, a couple more
pennies. But, I was fine with this situation that I’m in,” Wayne
said. ”Right before I made my decision, I took 30 minutes and just
closed myself in my office. I just thought (about) what all made
sense and put everything in perspective. Like I said, I Googled
myself and looked at all my career stats and put everything into a
small bottle and shook it up. The first thing that came to my mind
and popped out was to stay here with the Colts.”
Notes: Carlie Irsay-Gordon, Casey Irsay Foyt and Kalen Irsay,
Irsay’s three daughters, will now hold the titles of vice
chairman/owner … Longtime general counsel Dan Emerson will now
get the title of vice president and general counsel … James
Bettcher has been hired as Pagano’s special assistant and Mike
Bluem has been named director of football administration.