Colts Cap might have stumbled onto something interesting:
Mike Chappell of the Indystar pointed out to me earlier today that the NFLPA’s website lists Ryan Lilja’s base salaries for the next few years at $620,000, $630,000, $765,000 and $775,000.
That’s not really interesting until you note that the contract he signed last year had base salaries of $2.35M, $3.055M, $3.76M, and $4.21M.
A quicker look also discovered that Adam Vinatieri’s salary is down to $1.49M from what was originally scheduled to be $2M. If the actual move is what I expect, the savings will be approx. $250K in 2009 (and will increase his 2010 cap hit by that amount, which will be guaranteed).
It seems like the Colts are pushing money towards the final years of these two players' contracts, freeing up cap space for this year. As Polian has stated over and over again, for the first time, the Colts are very affected by the salary cap. This is a result of the new cap rules, which Polian and the Colts admit they were unprepared for. Moving money like this is not common for Bill and the front office. And I genuinely think they wanted to restructure Marvin, but just didn't have enough to make it work.
So, that's the negative. Here's the positive:
...It looks like the team is comfortable enough with where Lilja’s at that they would guarantee a portion of his base salary for 2009. Had they not been comfortable, I would think that they would be hard-pressed to guaranteed the money that they wouldn’t have to pay at the end of training camp should he not be fully recovered from his knee problems.
Ryan Lilja's injury last year was probably the most significant injury the Colts sustained, alongside Manning's and Saturday's. Lilja is the team's best run blocking guard, and without him, two rookies had to play an awful lot of snaps. The result was the Colts had the worst rushing offense in the NFL.
Along with these re-structuring are the rumors that the Colts are looking to bring in some free agents. Yes, you heard me right: Free agents. If these rumors develop into visits, we will have more on them. Let's just say that the Colts are agressively looking to upgrade the DT position.