The NFL’s free agency period starts at 4:00 p.m. (ET) today. Ryan Grigson will have more latitude to operate than he did last year. One area for which teams do not get a great deal of credit is retaining its own players. When a club does bring in outside talent, it is hoped they perform like two key players retained last year.





INDIANAPOLIS – Ryan Grigson likes "pillar" players as he builds his football team.

Those types of players are like Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis, who re-signed with the Colts last year.

The club franchised Mathis, then reached a long-term agreement.  The Colts put the full-court press on Wayne to keep him in the horseshoe.

Both responded accordingly as Mathis topped the team in sacks and inched to 91.5 for his Colts career that started in 2003.  Wayne led the club in receptions again, topping 100 for the fourth season in his career and producing a sixth career 1,200-yard year.

If the Colts make any "big moves" in free agency, those are the kinds of players sought by Grigson as the signing period opens today at 4:00 p.m. (ET).

Grigson is an aggressive sort who is in his 15th year of NFL personnel evaluation.  He honed his approach in St. Louis and Philadelphia before reaching Indianapolis, where he is the chief voice in the process.

"I've learned from each spot that I've been in," said Grigson.  "I've been able to kind of look at things from afar and see how things were done, and say, 'Okay, I'm going to do this differently and do that differently, or I'm going to do this exactly how they did it.'

"I've built my philosophy on things that I thought didn't work and things that I thought did work, which are very simple and basic."

It is safe to say since free agency started in its current form in the early 1990s that each team has thrived and been burned in the process.

Grigson was strapped financially in his first year, and it is something at which he will be careful when it comes to established free agent veterans who are on the market.

"If there's someone that is an absolute game-wrecker at a certain position and I feel like I absolutely have to have him and Chuck really wants him (we'll pursue it)," said Grigson.  "I will say this, it's not really in my DNA to just to go after the (big) names."

Grigson said there have been times when a player's appetite for action decreases once a payday has been achieved in free agency.  He said, though, those times are not across the board and that sometimes a veteran who relocates continues a stellar career.

"I don't mind paying a guy like that, because he's going to help me somewhere," said Grigson.

Veterans added to the process must buy into it completely, people like Cory Redding, who joined the Colts last season.

Grigson will operate wisely in the process to avoid any future financial pinches that handcuffed him in 2012.

The key is to attract players like Mathis and Wayne, performers whose motors do not idle for a moment.

The integrity of Mathis is revealed on game days.  It extended to Grigson's home, and he does not mind a son who has bought into Mathis, too.

"My son goes to bed in his jersey," said Grigson.  "I tell you right now, he epitomizes to me what a football player is."

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