The Indianapolis Colts have agreed in principle with the following players: tackle Gosder Cherilus, linebacker Lawrence Sidbury, guard Donald Thomas, cornerback Greg Toler and linebacker Erik Walden. All deals will be completed pending a physical.
“Chuck and I have a vision and we want players who love the game, play snap-to-whistle and do all of the little things to achieve greatness,” said General Manager Ryan Grigson. “Those traits are prevalent in all of the players we signed today. They love the game and play at a high level. They are team players and their focus is to dominate the person across from them every snap. That showed in the film and we agreed as a staff that these guys fit the mold of what we are trying to accomplish here. At the end of the day, we wanted players who would mesh well with our current roster and with one another. We feel these guys undoubtedly fit that style.”
Cherilus, 6-7, 325 pounds, started 71-of-74 games at right tackle for the Detroit Lions after being selected by the team in the first round (17th overall) of the 2008 NFL Draft. Last season, he started all 16 games and helped pave the way for an offense that ranked second in the NFL in passing yards (4,927), third in overall net yards (6,540) and ninth in sacks allowed (29).
In 2011, Cherilus started 15-of-16 games and blocked for a Lions offense that ranked fourth in the league in points scored, passing yards and red zone percentage and fifth in overall yards. In 2010, he started all 12 games he appeared in and was part of an offensive line that finished fifth in the NFL in sacks allowed per pass play, giving up just 27.0 sacks on 660 passing plays.
Sidbury, 6-3, 261 pounds, appeared in 48 games with the Atlanta Falcons, totaling 17 tackles (14 solo), 5.0 sacks and one fumble recovery. In 2011, he played in all 16 games and recorded career highs of 11 tackles (nine solo) and 4.0 sacks. As a rookie in 2009, Sidbury competed in all 16 games and registered five solo tackles, 1.0 sack and a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown.
Thomas, 6-4, 305 pounds, played in 43 games (21 starts) with the Miami Dolphins (2008-2009) and New England Patriots (2011-2012) over the past five years. Last season, he played in all 16 games (seven starts) and helped blocked for an offense that ranked first in the NFL in points (557), net yards (6,846), first downs (444), third down percentage (48.7) and red zone percentage (70.0). In 2011, he appeared in 10 games (one start), playing mainly on special teams and in short-yardage situations. With the Dolphins, Thomas started 13-of-17 games played.
Toler, 6-0, 192 pounds, competed in 38 games (15 starts) for the Arizona Cardinals after being selected in the fourth round (131st overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft. For his career, he has tallied 128 tackles (118 solo), 19 passes defensed, five interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns, and 1.0 sack.
Last year, he saw action in 11 games (two starts) and totaled 27 tackles (26 solo), eight passes defensed and two interceptions, including a career-long 102-yard return for a touchdown. In 2010, Toler started 13-of-14 games and recorded a career-high 90 tackles (82 solo), nine passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two interceptions, including a 66-yard return for a touchdown.
Walden, 6-2, 250 pounds, has played in 68 games (26 starts) with the Kansas City Chiefs (2008), Miami Dolphins (2008-2010) and Green Bay Packers (2010-2012) over the last five seasons and has notched 163 tackles (96 solo), 9.0 sacks, seven passes defensed, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.
In 2012, he made nine starts in 15 games played and totaled 46 tackles (27 solo), 3.0 sacks, four passes defensed and the first two interceptions of his career. In Walden’s first full year in Green Bay in 2011, he started 15-of-16 games and registered a career-high 86 tackles (50 solo), 3.0 sacks, two passes defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Walden signed with the Packers for the final nine games of the 2010 season and finished the year with 31 tackles (19 solo) and 3.0 sacks.
Tags: donald thomas, erik walden, free agency, gosder cherilus, greg toler, lawrence sidbury
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