INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said during a radio interview this week that the team has had a difficult time improving its defense because it gave quarterback Andrew Luck a new $140 million contract during the offseason.
"We have a defense that is work in progress," Grigson said on Fox Sports Radio. "When you pay Andrew what we did, it's going to take some time to build on the other side of the ball."
The Colts have finished 20th or worse in defense in three of the four seasons Grigson, who was hired in 2012, has been general manager. All four of those years were while Luck was under his rookie contract.
During that stretch, the Colts signed free agents like safety LaRon Landry, cornerback Greg Toler and defensive lineman Arthur Jones -- all starters who haven't worked out for the team. The Colts also have released starting linebackers Nate Irving and Sio Moore since the end of August.
Grigson's 2012 draft was his best class because it featured Luck, receiver T.Y. Hilton and tight ends Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener. The problem Grigson has is that the Colts have no players remaining from their 2013 draft. They also waived cornerback D'Joun Smith, the team's third-round pick in 2015, last month.
"We have missed on picks, that's for sure, we have," Grigson said on Fox Sports Radio. "I have to do better in that respect."
Despite the misses in the draft, the Colts advanced a step further in the playoffs, including reaching the AFC Championship Game in 2014, in each of their first three seasons. They didn't have Luck for nine games and missed the playoffs last season.
The Colts are currently 1-3 heading into a game Sunday against the Chicago Bears.
Grigson has improved his drafts in recent years. Fourteen players, including six on defense, from the 2014-16 draft class are currently starters or key rotational players for Indianapolis.
"We've got young players like (safety) Clayton Geathers, (safety) T.J. Green, (defensive lineman) Henry Anderson has played some really good (football) for us," Grigson said. "We have a lot of players on that side of the ball on the come. Nothing is ever perfect."