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Ex-Falcons DL Jamaal Anderson will join Colts, says agent

ANDERSON, Ind. -- The Indianapolis Colts are changing tactics.

Instead of just re-signing their own players, they've now added a new player: former first-round pick Jamaal Anderson.

Agent Joel Segal confirmed the deal Monday night, but would not disclose terms of the contract. Anderson was cut by Atlanta on Saturday in a cost-cutting move, and Segal said he is expected to report Tuesday to Indy's training camp site, Anderson University.

Other teams had expressed interest in Anderson.

The 6-foot-6, 289-pound defensive lineman from Arkansas could help upgrade a run defense Indy has tried to improve for years. Anderson was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2007 draft and has proven to be a more effective run-stuffer than a pass-rusher in the NFL.

And at age 25, he still has enough time to meet the lofty expectations that made him a top-10 pick.

The Colts made no immediate announcement about the signing or a corresponding roster move, but the signing is out of character for the Colts. Anderson becomes only the second unrestricted free agent on this year's roster. The other is kicker Adam Vinatieri, whom Indy signed in 2006.

"That is our philosophy and we've gotten a lot of criticism over it," team vice chairman Bill Polian said Sunday when explaining why the Colts have primarily stayed out of the free-agent market. "But I'll stack our record up against anybody."

The move likely could not have happened without Peyton Manning signing his new contract. The only four-time MVP in league history agreed Saturday to a five-year, $90 million deal that lowered his salary cap number this season to $16 million instead of the $23.1 million the Colts would have been charged if Manning played under the franchise tag.

Manning said he was not concerned about becoming the league's highest-paid player, as team owner Jim Irsay had promised, as long as the cash was used to build a strong supporting cast.

The Colts wasted no time in fulfilling the promise to Manning.

Within 24 hours of agreeing to the Manning deal, the Colts completed a three-year, $14 million contract to keep Joseph Addai, Indy's best blocking back; agreed to a new deal for right tackle Ryan Diem, lowering his base salary from $5.4 million this season; and re-signed starting defensive tackle Antonio Johnson. They also agreed to new three-year deals with safety Melvin Bullitt and Vinatieri in the past week, and now they have landed Anderson.

It's still unclear where Anderson will play in a defense that has traditionally relied more on speed than size.

But the Colts have made a concerted effort to bulk up the middle over the past three years, and Anderson, now the tallest linemen on the roster, could play inside or outside.

Anderson could also line up at defensive end where the Colts already have two Pro Bowlers in Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis and Jerry Hughes, last year's first-round pick.

Either way, the Colts are hoping Anderson becomes the difference-maker Atlanta saw in the draft.

In four seasons with Atlanta, Anderson started 47 games, had 83 tackles and 4 1/2 sacks. Last season, in three starts, Anderson matched his career-high total with two sacks and had 21 tackles.

The Colts also lost left tackle Charlie Johnson, who signed with Minnesota on Monday. Johnson is the second free agent Indy has lost in the past week. Linebacker Clint Session signed a five-year deal with Jacksonville last week. Indy's other starting defensive tackle from last season, Dan Muir, agreed to a one-year, $1.85 million contract with St. Louis, and first-round pick Anthony Castonzo missed his first two practices in a contract holdout.

Polian said Sunday that Castonzo wants the fourth year of his contract guaranteed, something Polian insisted the Colts would not do.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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