With the foundation now set in place for the new CBA agreement we can start to speculate what may happen to potential free agents. I'm sure the Colts organization isn't too pleased with the news. The idea of loosing the tendered players currently on the roster would be a major blow to remaining in contention. If players with four years of service and contract is up become unrestricted free agents, prepare now to say good-bye to some familiar faces. The Colts in the past have always managed to deal with roster losses without effecting the overall team too much. However, this doesn't mean they are set-up to see the large number of team members depart at this time. If the Colts cannot discover some way of re-signing bigger names like Peyton Manning, Joseph Addai, Adam Vinatieri, Melvin Bullitt, among others, then another playoff run is unlikely. After the jump let's look at the possibility of who might leave and who might be in a Colts jersey next year.
The most important name on the list has to be Peyton Manning. We know besides from the option of Jim Irsay selling his soul to get a deal done (heck maybe he would). We're destine to see number 18 in blue and white for the rest of his career. So, let's move onto the others whose future maybe not as certain.
Chances of being back: 100%
He's now 28 young in age, but the Colts normally do not re-sign veteran running backs. In recent history we've watched Marshall Faulk head to the greatest show on turf and Edgerrin James both move on before they hit the ripe age of 30. Yet, the only difference I see today could be, will Addai require a contract as monumental as the backs before him would have ordained? And, what teams with room within their salary cap are willing to offer for his services? Taking both of those questions in consideration, I cannot feel comfortable believe he'll be back. The Colts also may already taken this into the deciding factor when they selected Delone Carter in the draft.
Chances of being back: 35%
While serviceable on our offensive line, he's far from elite by many standards. This is not a bad thing, in fact that could play a major roll in the Colts bring him back. Charlie can play on the outside at tackle or inside at his natural position guard. His versatility is the most valuable asset to receiving a new contract offer. Are there better options soon to be sitting out there in free agency? Yes. But, the price tag for what others can bring to the table might not be worth the same when examining what the Colts ask of their offensive-linemen.
Chances of being back: 85%
The departure of Bob Sanders skyrocketed the need to make a decision, who will be the starting SS for the Indianapolis Colts? Coming from a long line of UFA's who have contributed to the Colt's success, Melvin Bullitt has exceeded people's expectations when placed in the line-up. He's not the playmaker Sanders' is yet, he doesn't cost you games like fill-in Aaron Francisco will. Bullitt stated the only way he sees himself a Colt next year is with a long-term deal. I'm not sure the team sees him as a long-term solution thou, putting in question him being a high priority. When paying for a starting caliber player you don't want average/backup style play from him. We've already had that benefit of going through that with Kelvin Hayden.
Chances of being back: 50%
Even at the age of 38, Adam has hardly lost a step. Maybe he doesn't have the leg he once had but, with Pat McAfee as a kickoff specialist, that's a non-factor. The facts are he's a future hall-of-fame candidate and when the game is on the line there's no one you'd rather have lining-up to kick for you. He has ice water running through his veins, no matter the pressure (Super Bowl game winner) he just does his job. Not to mention he's also a leader in the locker room.
Chances of being back: 99.9%
At the beginning of last year, you could easily argue Clint was the best linebacker on the team. Middle linebacker Gary Brackett is intelligent and instinctive but, when it comes to playing with heart Session can't be beat. He attacks the ball carrier in a lot of ways like he was trying to replace Bob Sanders' presence. Possibly leading to the reason he landed on IR. His size will not attract many suitors, especially as more teams switch large 3-4 linebackers. If another team is willing to pay for his willingness to give 110% and not his size; then no doubt he'll be playing for another contender. Colts would greatly benefit from the depth but, he becomes merely a luxury with the play of 7th round selection Kavell Conner.
Chances of being back: 40%
Antonio Johnson and Dan Muir
One of these two should manage to return to the Colts. The fan's (including myself) display a fondness for Mookie over Muir's ability to help stop the run. The difference is noticeable, after seeing a strong showing in the final 4 regular season games. Unfortunately, Johnson goes down due to injury and Muir comes in and gets pounded like fresh meat in a prison during the playoff's game vs. the Jets. After all of this the Colt's organization seems to favor their pick towards Dan Muir being the chosen one. Of course you can never be sure what the Polians' might do, as it turns out they may upgrade over both of them.
Chances of being back: One of them - 82%, Both - 15%, Neither - .1%
The general consensus is Ryan Diem and Kelvin Hayden will be cut to make room for others. If that happens there will be a few more million dollars of cap space. Personally if the Colts are going to pay for an elite corner they might is well have one, Jonathan Joseph fits that bill. He's not the biggest name out there but, he deserves to be mentioned with the best of them. Another direction to consider should be a defensive tackle who mandates double teams. Brandon Mebane could be that gem to apply pressure and free up Freeney and Mathis. Finally, strong safety is a position that will have to be address after Peyton's contract. I'm sure everyone has their front runner to take the job but, I'll choose not to play favorites.
The offense may see some remodeling as well depending on Johnson and Addai's statuses. The running back position is now is flux relating to possible losses of Joe Addai to free agency and Javarris James to stupidity. If available Jerome Harrison is an affordable scat-back which seemed poised to breakout a couple years back. He's one person barely mentioned but has big play ability also. And, as far as Johnson goes, if/when Diem is released Charlie's bound to be kept. That's not to say the team might not upgrade the offensive line still but, more likely the current members will round out the roster.
Thank you very much for listening and please speculate your own ideas.