Bold off-season predictions

Here are the facts:

2013 Salaries (does NOT include signing/performance bonuses which can impact Cap hit):

* We may or may not be still paying some players we cut this off-season (I've found conflicting salary numbers for the 2013-14 season) as well as a few discrepancies I've found from various sources, so this number is not 100% accurate and likely well below the actual salary cap number for 2013-14. Also not included are Practice Squad players and in-season acquisitions, as their figures are more difficult to dig up.
** Please let me know if this list is incorrect in any way, and I'll update it. I've found a single discrepancy (Matt Overton is listed as a 2013 FA by and under contract thru 2014 by rotoworld), so there may be more.

The 2013 Season will produce an estimated $121,000,000 Salary Cap for all NFL Teams, 90% (approx. $108,900,000) of which each team is required to spend per the new C.B.A. The Colts will have a league-leading $43,000,000 million in available cap space.
Now for some bold (and some not so bold) off-season predictions:
The Colts will not re-sign the following players:
  • Jerraud Powers - Much more effective in a zone coverage scheme, lacks the size to play as physical as the new scheme requires, has ended the past 3 seasons on I.R.
  • Austin Collie - Injuries have torpedoed Collie's career. He's an exceptional talent when he can stay on the field, but with multiple concussions and now a serious knee injury under his belt, his time with the Colts is all but up. Unless he agree to a minimal contract, he won't be back.
  • Dwight Freeney - Not only will he command a very large salary, but he just isn't a good fit in the new defense. Despite Manusky still letting DFree put a hand in the ground and edge-rush, he simply isn't producing. Is it his age? Is it the new scheme? It's probably a lot of both. He's gone.
  • Donnie Avery - It could be argued that he's played well enough to earn another contract, but T.Y. Hilton's emergence makes Avery very expendable.
  • Fili Moala - While he has played better in the 3-4 this season, he's still not much of a force on the D-Line, and with a torn ACL ending his 2012 season, he's likely going to be finding work elsewhere next year.
  • Antonio Johnson - Just not the true NT we need. He's a solid 4-3 DT, but as far as nose tackles go, the Colts can do much better.
The Colts will cut or trade the following players:
  • Pat Angerer - Unfortunately for Pat, his broken foot in the preseason may have ultimately been his undoing as a Colt. Since then he's been playing catch-up, with his rehab and to his teammates as Freeman and Conner have excelled at their respective ILB positions. Plus Angerer already was a Bill Polian special - an undersized, over-achiever from Iowa. His snap count is down, his production is down, and I'd love if the Colts could get a 4th or 5th round pick for him. 2013 Cap Space Saved: $630,000
  • Donald Brown - The new coaching staff still isn't finished with putting its stamp on the offense, and Brown is certainly not the centerpiece in the backfield of the future. I don't think Ballard is either, but that's another point I'll make later. Brown's had trouble with not major injuries, but nagging ones that seem to linger throughout the season. Though he's been practicing in full the past two weeks, he's fallen behind Ballard on the depth chart. That doesn't bode well for his future with the Colts. 2013 Cap Space Saved: $1,705,000
The Colts will re-sign the following players:
  • Pat McAfee - The Boomstick has the looks to me of a lifetime Colt. After Vinatieri retires when his contract is up, I actually expect McAfee to take over all kicking duties for this team, including FGs. Every last roster spot is precious, and Patty Mac's ability to handle Kickoffs, Punts, and FGs - as well as serving as our emergency QB - is extremely valuable. He will be locked up with a 5+ year deal.
  • Winston Justice - When Grigson brought him along from Philly, it wasn't just as a 1-year rental. Justice has played very well with his new team, helped revitalize the Colts line & run game, and Philly Fans are seriously missing him. Justice will be signed to a 3+ year deal.
  • Darius Butler - Has filled in admirably in Powers' absence, and probably would've held on to the starting job regardless of Jerraud's season-ending trip to the IR. He's got 2nd round talent, solid CBs are extremely hard for the Colts to find, and he looks to have been revitalized with his new team. Butler will be signed to a 3 year deal.
  • A.Q. Shipley - Can play multiple positions along the O-Line, and really played well at Center when Satele's been down. Versatility and depth on the O-Line cannot be overstated. Shipley will be signed to a 3 year deal.
  • Drew Stanton - Solid backup QBs in the NFL are officially a commodity these days, and the Colts have a good one with Drew Stanton. The Colts won't be ready to entrust backup duties to Harnish for 2013, so Stanton stays. Stanton will be signed to a 3+ year deal.
The Colts might re-sign the following players:
  • Justin Hickman - Rookie OLB out of UCLA has the size and has played well in spurts when needed, but small body of work makes it hard to judge if he'll be back.
  • Jeff Linkenbach - Has improved in 2012, but still reverts to old, turn-style self at times. Really a toss-up as to whether or not he'll be back in a Colts uniform, but, if he is, it won't be as a starter.
  • Scott Olsen - The Colts always seem to have at least one head-scratching move in the off-season, and I think Olsen could fit that bill for 2013. Don't know why, and it shouldn't happen, but it will.
Other bold off-season moves:
  • The Colts will trade for LeSean McCoy. The Eagles are about to pull a 2012 Colts and completely clean house. Reid and Vick will be gone, the O-Line will be gutted and rebuilt, the defense needs lord knows what to make it work. McCoy won't want to stick around through rebuilding, and the Eagles will be entertaining offers on most all players. Grigson's relationship with the Eagles franchise gives us a great inside edge on other teams. I don't expect this Colts team to be built at all like the Colts teams since Edgerrin James left - with just an adequate back who's safe but not spectacular. Vick Ballard looks like a nice, solid young back - but I don't think he's feature-back material. We need a gamebreaker in the backfield with Luck, and I think the timing could be perfect for the Colts to make a big splash in the 2013 off-season by landing Shady McCoy.
  • The Colts will draft an OLB with their first pick. I know the O-Line still needs help, and I expect that to be addressed with our 3rd and/or 4th round pick(s) as well as in free agency. But Freeney's leaving and Hughes is turning into nothing more than a decent backup. Clay Matthews was the 26th overall pick in 2009. Just sayin.'
  • The Colts will sign Sebastian Vollmer to be our RT opposite Castonzo. Vollmer of the NE Patriots is scheduled to be a UFA following this season, and would be a fantastic addition to the Colts offensive line setting Andrew Luck up with monolithic bookends to protect him for the foreseeable future. He won't be cheap though, so expect something in the neighborhood of 6 years, $43+ million (or more).
  • The Colts will sign LaRon Landry, who will be a UFA, to replace Zibs in the starting lineup at SS next year. He signed a 1 year, $4,000,000 contract with the quickly-imploding Jest this year, and included is in this contract is a clause that disallows the Jest from placing the Franchise Tag on him in 2013. He won't want to stay at the dumpster fire that is the NYJ, and he's just the type of heavy-hitting, run-stopping presence the Colts haven't had since Bob Sanders.
Those are my bold predictions, and ways how the Colts can build a monster. We have GM who has money to spend and is not afraid to spend it or wheel and deal for a player he wants. If you don't agree with these moves, or don't think there's anyway that any of them can happen, that's fine by me - just do us all a favor and be a little more insightful with your criticisms or objections than the canned "that's dumb" or "that won't work" responses. I have no problem with criticisms, as long as you're willing to form a reasonable perspective with ammunition to back yourself up. The point of this post is to stir up some more intelligent, realistic, optimistic, and exciting conversation regarding potential off-season moves.
If you're a Colts fan, these are exciting times for sure - and they're just going to get better. Go Colts!

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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