The Colts & The Salary Cap

From the diaries, jdb from Charlie Weis Ate My Baby stops in to set the record straight on the salary cap. --BBS

This comment by Bucsfan got me thinking about this myth of The Colts Pay Too Much Money to Peyton

How is the Colts depth with Peytons large cap number?

Which lead to me doing some internet searching and finding this gem from a Pats blogger who doesn't seem to have updated since July

To all the Colts-haters out there, take solace in knowing one thing. This was a "one and done" situation for the Colts. They won't come close to the Superbowl next year.
[insert John Clayton article talking about all of the Colts free agents after last season and how they are "losing so much"]
What does this all mean? Well, in short....there are going to be some changes in Indy. Guys will have to restructure, which may happen, but will all of them? Doubtful. So all in all, we're not looking at the next dynasty here folks...we're looking at a one and done.

So really, are the Colts that bad off in the salary cap? Has Polian really been managing this team horribly?


This man is smiling because he just won the Super Bowl, eliminated the national debt and solved world hunger all with 7th round draft picks and undrafted free agents.

First, Bucsfan's comment about depth. I think this weekend's game against Tampa Bay with 6 starters missing disproved that little meme once and for all. When you have a GM like Bill Polian who consistently makes the best use of low draft picks and undrafted free agents, you can afford to pay your top players more by consistently unearthing gems from the low rounds and the undrafted players. Has any other team made more use of the low rounds and undrafted players than the Colts and had the success with them that Indy has had?

Onto the cap....

In 2001, the Colts had only $1.256 million in cap room (19th in the league). Yet their best years were ahead of them. In 2007 (yes, this is from a different source so the numbers may not be completely comparable but they should give a good idea) this Colts had projected cap room of $5.9 mil, 29th in the league*.

So the Colts have dropped 10 spots in the league in cap room since 2001 but have managed a record of 71-30 (70.3%), 4 division championships,  5 playoff visits and a Super Bowl up through week 5 of 2007. They have been able to hold onto or fill key components that are in low supply of top flight producers (QB, WR, DE, FS, K, OL) while making good decisions on important positions that are in higher supply and used good scouting to find unheralded pieces that fit the Colts scheme at low cost (RB, CB, LB, TE).

So in the end I guess that yes, Polian and Irsay are going to have to walk a much finer line and rely on their top notch scouting even more in the future as the cap slowly tightens. But to say that the money paid to Manning, Freeney, Harrison, Wayne etc has been done foolishly and at the expense of depth and the future is exaggerated at best and plain wrong at worst.

*The reason that a cap space number 4x bigger than 2001 is ranked 10 lower is due to the new CBA for 2006 that raised the cap by a significant margin. The cap was $85.5 mil in 2005 an is around $109 mil this year.

Hmmm now that I've written this, I'm happy with how it turned out. Guess I should crosspost this to Charlie Weis Ate My Baby

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.

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