Darrius Heyward-Bey and Eddie Winslow? Hello!

Many opinions flew around regarding the Colts’ initial wave of free agency and the blitz of early signings. Too much money thrown at guys who weren’t proven was a pretty common criticism. The last article delved into that subject, so now we’ll look at some more under-the-radar signings made later in the free agency bonanza.

Let’s get this out of the way from the start. Darrius Heyward-Bey is the most recent acquisition. A big and fast wide receiver who was painfully overdrafted in 2009 at the seventh spot in the first round. All the angles have been covered regarding his four less-than-stellar years in Oakland. (Brief aside…from here on out he will be referred to as DHB. Mainly because it’s a long name and I’m too damn lazy to keep typing it over and over again).

DHB has an issue with dropped passes. That’s no secret, and naysayers of the signing point to those drops and lack of showing anything thus far in his career. To that let’s offer two counter points: first, he played in Oakland under a myriad of new coaches, coordinators and systems. Second, he was forced to try and live up to that lofty draft status from the second he stepped on the field as a Raideh (yes, it’s the Raiders but the Raidehs pronunciation is just good old fashioned fun…try it at home).

From the ‘Sad but True’ department…Donnie Avery had a higher drop rate than DHB last season. The same Donnie Avery who played decently enough for the Colts to parlay it into a longer term deal this offseason with the Chiefs. DHB find himself in practically the exact same situation: a one-year low money ‘prove yourself’ contract that can only be worth the maximum of $3M if he hits every single incentive in that deal. His base salary is $1.5M.

There is zero risk here for the Colts in that they signed him to the right term at the right price. If this completely backfires, the Colts thank him and let DHB walk and both he and the Colts are in the same boat next season. If he produces in this system he can turn it into a longer term deal at bigger dollars, and the Colts have the first chance to lock him down.

But enough about hum drum logistics. How does DHB stack up to other famous Darrius or Darius folks? Thought you’d never ask! There’s Darius Rucker, former lead singer of Hootie & the Blowfish and currently resembles something of a country singer. Hootie was always alright in this humble opinion. Not a ‘cut your arm off and sell it on the black market for money to nab a front row ticket’ type of band, but also not a ‘turn this damn station right now or I’ll drive us all off a cliff’ gang either. But now that he’s teetering toward more of a country feel, it seems that he’s isn’t quite sure where he fits in the scheme of things. Meh. Not good or bad.

Next up… Darius McCrary, ‘The Eddie Winslow’ of Family Matters. Enough said. Any man that has enough gravitas to star opposite of Steve Urkel and hold his own gets the nod. Finally, Darius the Great. Have to admit it…never heard of the guy. Apparently he ruled a Persian empire at its peak. At the risk of turning the article into something educational…um, no. Not happening. We’re only here to entertain and drop some occasional knowledge. Moving along.

Stacking DHB up to the likes of Hootie, Eddie Winslow and some Persian ruler is indeed lofty company. While we certainly hope DHB can hold his own and eclipse Darius Rucker, then approach Darius McCrary, it’s a pipe dream to think he would touch Darius the Great. Who the hell is that guy again?

The Colts also nabbed Aubrayo Franklin, a guy who holds up well at nose tackle on first and second down when teams pound the ball on Indy with too much success. Nice move that could pay some dividends and get the ball back to Luck and company more often.

Late in free agency is when you dole out the one-year deals to guys who need to show something. Maybe it pans out, and maybe it doesn’t. That’s the beauty of free agency. You roll the dice, put a team on the field and let it ride. What’s Steve Urkel up to, anyway?