Clarifying 'Final Eight Rule' and Colts

We’ve fielded some questions about the “final eight” rule that restricts what the last eight teams alive in the playoffs -- including the AFC champion Colts -- bringing in unrestricted free agents before they lose one.

Here’s an old post detailing the rule.

And here’s the clarification:

The Colts were able to sign guard Andy Alleman because he isn’t a six-year player who reached unrestricted free agency when March 4 turned into March 5. Alleman was a restricted free agent for the Chiefs, but Kansas City declined to tender him, the same way the Colts declined to tender Marlin Jackson, Tim Jennings, Aaron Francisco, T.J. Rushing, Daniel Federkeil, Tyjuan Hagler, Freddy Keiaho and Hank Baskett.

While all those guys become unrestricted in free agency in that they are allowed to sign anywhere, they aren’t the same sort of free agent that Gary Brackett was, briefly, or that any player with an expiring contract and six or more years of experience became.

And so the Colts were free to sign Alleman.

And if Jackson signs with Baltimore or Philadelphia this week, it won’t mean the Colts are then free to sign an unrestricted free agent.

Hope that clarifies things a bit.

And here’s what Scouts Inc. has to say about Alleman, who scored just a 53 in their free-agent grading. I presume he’ll get a chance to compete with Kyle DeVan at right guard or work as an interior backup.

Alleman has bounced around between three teams during the three years he has been in the NFL since being drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the third round of the 2007 draft. He played in nine games, starting three, for the Chiefs in 2009. He is a good sized lineman with above average initial quickness and agility but is not a natural knee bender and will overextend into blocks. He tends to play with a narrow base and can struggle to react and right himself against good counter moves by the pass rusher. He is a decent backup that can step in to start for a game or two but is not the kind of athlete you want to start all 16 games.