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Gosder Cherilus headlines Colts' five free-agent deals

The Indianapolis Colts had the salary-cap space to be players in free agency. They didn't waste any time getting to work Tuesday.

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The Colts agreed to terms with five players: right tackle Gosder Cherilus, cornerback Greg Toler, linebacker Erik Walden, guard Donald Thomas and linebacker Lawrence Sidbury. Terms of the deals weren't disclosed, but's Aditi Kinkhabwala reported that Cherilus received a $10 million signing bonus.

The biggest move here is Cherilus, who was brought aboard to help better protect quarterback Andrew Luck. A former first-round draft pick out of Boston College, Cherilus spent the first five seasons of his NFL career with the Detroit Lions. He'll replace the underwhelming right tackle platoon of Winston Justice and Jeff Linkenbach that the Colts employed last season.

Cherilus is a considerable talent, coming off a season in which Pro Football Focus ranked him the No. 2 right tackle in the NFL. There's risk involved, however. Cherilus -- set to enter his age-29 season -- has battled knee problems throughout his career. He reportedly traveled to Germany after the season for an alternative treatment on his right knee. He underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee in late 2010.

Despite those issues, Cherilus was a rock on the right side for the Lions. He has missed just four games in his career and played every snap but one last season.

A breakdown of the Colts' other agreements:

» Toler, 28, is a cornerback with upside. He appeared in 11 games last season for the Arizona Cardinals, starting two, in his return from anterior cruciate ligament surgery that cost him all of the 2011 season. He started 13 games in 2010.

» Walden, 27, arrives with some head-scratching. According to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Walden agreed to a four-year, $16 million contract. Walden told McGinn he joined the Colts with every expectation that he'll be a starter opposite Robert Mathis.

The Colts obviously believe Walden is an untapped talent, but that contract seems awfully generous for a player who managed just nine sacks over the past three seasons with the Green Bay Packers.

» Thomas, 27, spent the last two seasons with the New England Patriots and should find a starting role somewhere along the Colts' interior line. He started seven games for Bill Belichick last season, rotating at left and right guard.

» Sidbury, 27, was a pass-rushing specialist who didn't start a game over four seasons with the Atlanta Falcons. He had four sacks in 2011, but he fell off the radar last season.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.

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