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Ricky Jean-Francois signs $22M contract with Colts

Ricky Jean-Francois might not be a household name, but the former San Francisco 49ers backup defensive tackle drew plenty of interest heading into NFL free agency.

Among those reported to be hot on Jean-Francois' trail -- as many as 10 teams -- were the Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Philadelphia Eagles and New Orleans Saints.

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Jean-Francois never made it out of his visit with the Indianapolis Colts, however, signing a four-year, $22 million contract, a source who has seen the deal told NFL.com's Ian Rapoport on Thursday.

Adam Caplan of The Sideline View first reported the news.

Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted that the organization is "fired up" over a new addition. The Colts' official Twitter account later sent out a picture of Jean-Francois signing his contract.

While Jean-Francois saw his stock rise because he was the only free agent capable of playing all three defensive line positions in a 3-4 scheme, a contract worth more than $5 million annually is quite the leap of faith. Appearing in 51 games over four seasons with the 49ers, Jean-Francois never has played more than 27 percent of the defensive snaps in a single season.

Perhaps Jean-Francois owes his big pay day to 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, who raved about him in practices leading up to the Super Bowl. "We couldn't block him yesterday," Harbaugh said after one especially dominant practice. "We could not block him."

Colts general manager Ryan Grigson earned the top spot on our eyebrow-raising contracts list Wednesday after overpaying for offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus and linebacker Erik Walden. Since then, Grigson has handed Jean-Francois and safety LaRon Landry a combined $46 million over four years.

Grigson, the 2012 NFL Executive of the Year, had plenty of money to burn entering free agency. He might have done exactly that.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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