What is the only chance to become competitive again and keep Manning.
Last week’s calculations on the 2012 Colts cap number proved to be a bit off. Instead of $96 million, the Colts are at $101 million. But let’s subtract $1.6 million, because Painter and Diles will be cut. That leaves the team with 99.4 million.
Now the Colts have picks in all 7 rounds, plus likely a 5th and a 6th as compensation. But to field a competitive team, they need another high pick. The trade of which player could take a huge amount off the potential cap number and give the Colts a high draft pick?
The answer unfortunately is Freeney or Mathis. I doubt a 32 to be Freeney, with a $14 million base salary would attract too much interest, and I also think, if Mathis were to face the LT and double teams, he would have much less success, than Freeney. Let’s remain with Freeney. With a new contract, the cap number could decrease not by $7, but even by $9 million without an actual pay cut (which #93 wouldn’t agree to). That leaves us with Mathis. He is 31, and shows no signs of slowing down. In that age, James Harrison got a huge contract. Freeney’s new contract decreases the DE franchise tag from $11 to $10.2 million. The Colts franchise Mathis and trade him for 2nd round pick.
Then the Colts re-sign Wayne, Garcon and a few cheap guys and also have 4 picks in the top 65. (It would be great if Wayne or Garcon could be traded, but they don’t deserve anything close to franchise money and Wayne is old. trading Clark would save maybe $2 million.)
Let’s do something similar in the draft and hopefully Grigson won't reach, like last year:
1 QB Andrew Luck 6'4 - 230 Stanford
2 CB Stephon Gilmore 6'1 - 193 South Carolina
2T DT Michael Brockers 6'6 - 306 LSU
3 DE Cam Johnson 6'3 - 270 Virginia
4 WR Joe Adams 5'11 - 190 Arkansas
5C OLB Demario Davis 6'2 - 235 Arkansas State
6 SS Matt Daniels 6'1 - 210 Duke
6C CB Terrence Frederick 5'10 - 190 Texas A&M
After the signing of draft picks, Wayne, Garcon and a couple cheap guys, the cap number is around $113 million and you can still massage it with Bullitt cut, rescheduling, etc.