Vontae Davis might sit again this week, which begs the question: Just how important is this guy to the team now and going forward?
The Vontae Davis trade has been a massive disappointment, to say the least. Was it a dumb move for Colts general manager Ryan Grigson to make? No, but front office people are not judged based on intentions. Their job is graded on results, and insofar as the Vontae Davis trade has gone, it's a massive dud for Grigson.
Meanwhile, everything else the first-year GM has touched has turned to gold.
Draft picks like TY Hilton, Dwayne Allen, and Vick Ballard have been vital cogs in a flawed, but highly entertaining Colts machine. Andrew Luck has also been stellar, but he wasn't a Grigson pick. The No. 1 overall selection was a Jim Irsay call, all the way.
Back to Davis, it seems like Week 12 will be his fourth week in a row sitting out. He's played in only five games this season, and has only finished three of those five games. Add up all the quarters he's played in, and Davis has only been available for roughly three full games. The Colts sent a 2013 second round pick to the Miami Dolphins for Davis. So far, Dolphins GM Jeff Ireland fleeced Grigson, big time.
At some point, the Indianapolis Colts have to start thinking just how worthwhile Davis is to the team. They've gone 4-2 in games without him, and when he has played he hasn't looked very good. He has 19 tackles on the season. Only one pass defended. No turnovers. I honestly cannot recall a single play all season where I saw Davis put a hand on a ball even though the NFL's official stats say he did... on one play.
Contrast this with Darius Butler who, when given his first chance to shine, won AFC Defensive Player of the Week against the Jaguars in Week 10, earning two picks, a forced fumble (recovered), and a touchdown off one of those picks.
Davis is owned roughly $950,000 this season with no known bonuses. He's still working off his rookie contract. Next year is his final year for that deal, and it's worth roughly $1,136,000. No bonus money.
In terms of money, Davis isn't much of a burden. It also seems that, if they cut him at season's end (unlikely, but you never know), the Colts won't be on the hook for any dead money. Where Davis' lack of value hurts the Colts is the draft pick they gave up to get him.
The positive out of Davis' injury-riddled season is that it has given the Colts an opportunity to see more players. Yes, this is cold comfort, but it is, at least, something.
They learned Jerraud Powers cannot play in this new defensive system that requires corners to line-up and cover man-to-man. Powers' body is also not built to handle the rigors of the NFL, ending three straight seasons on the Injured Reserve list. His career in Indianapolis is finished (he's a free agent at season's end), and his time as a starting-caliber corner in the NFL is also likely over.
The Colts learned they might have something in veteran corner Darius Butler. Butler, unlike Powers, seems to fit the mold as a solid second or third corner. Cassius Vaughn has shown promise, but lacks consistency. Josh Gordy is little more than a semi-decent dime corner with additional value as a special teams player.
This leaves Davis, who is certainly not the reliable, shutdown corner the Colts had hoped for this season. His salary and contract are quite expendable. If and when he returns this season, I get the sense that he'll be playing for his job in 2013. If he plays poorly, as he did in the first game of the season, allowing Alshon Jeffery to torch him, it's unlikely he'll be on this team in 2013. If he isn't, that will make Jim Irsay look foolish for his highly publicized berating of critics who called the trade risky, but it was a calculated risk.
At the end of the day, the person with the most to lose is Davis. He came to Indianapolis with loads of baggage from his days in Miami. In many ways, this is his last chance. Here's to hoping he can make the best of it. The Colts defense is currently ranked dead, stinking last in adjusted defense, per Matt's The Winning Stats rankings. If Davis can return and begin to make plays, it would be a huge boost. If he doesn't, then his status as a Colt going forward could be in jeopardy.