Who knew there would be demand for outside linebacker Erik Walden on the first day of free agency? Sure as hell not us. Nonetheless, Walden left the Green Bay Packers for the Indianapolis Colts on a day typically reserved for the cream of the free agent crop.
Walden got a new four-year deal, reportedly worth $16 million.
Much like last offseason, the Packers expressed zero interest in retaining Walden, who started nine games and recorded 46 tackles, three sacks and two picks in 2012. The Packers signed Walden to a one-year, league minimum deal when no one else offered him a contract last year.
This year was a different story. Despite Walden’s, uh… uneven play he had plenty of suitors. In addition to the Colts, the Chiefs and Raiders also expressed interest. Not coincidentally, those two teams are run by guys who used to sit in the Packers front office.
However, the Colts stepped forward with the biggest offer — an offer we might term “idiotic.” Consider, Walden has just 26 starts in five NFL seasons and we aren’t exaggerating when we say he’s never performed at a high level for a full season. No, Walden plays balls out for three or four games and then disappears for the remainder of the year. Happened in 2011. Happened in 2012.
Still, he’s getting a starting spot in Indy!
“The Colts gave us the best offer,” Walden said. “They want us to come in as the starter. You can’t beat that.
“I’m going to have an opportunity to start. That’s how I’m looking at it. I’m going in to compete and take the job.
“They have Jerry Hughes, a first-round pick. You never know. They might bring somebody in in the draft. That’s not really my concern. I’m going in to be the man.“
The man, indeed.
Who knows. Maybe Walden will put it all together in Indianapolis. He’s still only 27.
We’d be surprised though. Good luck to him either way. If you’re a Packers fan, you’ll always have the footage of Walden hopelessly trying to catch Colin Kaepernick.