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5 best free agent signings in Indianapolis Colts history

Last March, the Indianapolis Colts made headlines when they signed free agent quarterback Philip Rivers.

The Colts are hoping that this free-agent acquisition will be as successful as the ones they have had through their 67-year history. A few of those signings stood out more than the others, and were very instrumental in the Colts line of successful seasons.

Here are the top five free-agent signings in Colts history.

5. Frank Gore

Running back Frank Gore made his name with the San Francisco 49ers. During his time with the Bay Area team, he made it to 5 Pro-Bowls, with an All-Pro selection in 2006. Age and an emerging Carlos Hyde lead to Gore not being resigned by the team that drafted him after the 2014 season.

In March 2015, the Indianapolis Colts took the chance and signed Gore, who recently just reached 10,000 rushing yards, to a three-year deal.

The then 33-year-old Gore eventually will rush for more than 1000 yards in his second season with Indianapolis, the first Colt who have done so since Joseph Addai in 2007. He also started in all games of his three-year stint with the team, and was the only reliable running back coming out of their backfield.

He finished his tenure with Indianapolis with 2,953 total rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. Gore also served as a veteran presence and a mentor to the team’s young players.

4. Brandon Stokley

Brandon Stokley was acquired by the Colts in 2003 after being rarely used by the Baltimore Ravens for four years.

During his spell with Indianapolis, he was one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets. In fact, he was the receiver to pull down the record-breaking 49th touchdown pass for the season in 2004. In the same year, he managed to post his best year for the team, garnering 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns

For the rest of his Colts stay, the stand out receiver tallied a total of 1,916 yards and 15 touchdowns. As Manning’s possession receiver, Stokely surely had a hand in two of his five MVP trophies.

3. Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh signed for the Indianapolis Colts in 1994.

During his four year tenure, his numbers didn’t scream top singing, posting a 20-26 record and throwing for 8,705 yards 49 touchdowns, but what made Harbaugh a special free-agent acquisition is what he was able to do in his second season.

In 1995, the Harbaugh-led Colts got as far as the AFC Championship Game, the first AFC title game the Colts have played since 1971. Harbaugh connected on 21 of 33 passes for 267 yards and a touchdown. In the same season, Harbaugh was named to the Pro-Bowl and won both the NFL Comeback and AFC Player of the Year awards.

2. Jeff Saturday

Jeff Saturday went undrafted in 1998, but then got signed by Baltimore Ravens as a free agent. Three months later, he was waived. The Indianapolis Colts took a flier on Saturday, and their decision massively paid off.

Considered to be one of the smartest centers in the league, Saturday played every snap from 2000 to 2004, for a total of 85 consecutive games. He was a vital part of the offensive line that protected Peyton Manning and has been calling the shots until the iconic quarterback left for Denver in 2012.

Extremely durable, he played for the Colts for 13 seasons, starting in 188 of 197 total games. Throughout that tenure, Saturday received 4 All-Pro selections with 6 Pro-Bowl appearances.

He, along with Manning, won their first Super Bowl in 2006 by defeating the Chicago Bears.

1. Adam Vinatieri

The all-time NFL points leader is the no brainer pick to be the best free-agent signing in the team’s history.

Signed in 2006 from AFC rivals New England Patriots, Vinatieri has been the model of consistency and reliability at the kicker position not only for the Colts, but for the rest of the league.

Throughout his 14-year Colts career, the sure-fire hall of fame kicker made 336 field goals, with 37 of them coming from 50+ yards. He’s also not shy when it comes to pressure. For his entire career, Vinatieri made 29 game-winning kicks. In 2006, Vinatieri went 5-5 in field goal attempts and scored all of Indianapolis’ points in a Divisional Round matchup against the Baltimore Ravens.

Truly a class among his own, Adam Vinatieri is and probably will ever be the Indianapolis Colts’ greatest acquisition.