, according to the Star as well as ESPN will have 47 million dollars in cap space for the upcoming season. On top of that 47 million they also will face two tough decisions, Vinitieri and Bethea can both be cut and save the Colts approximetly 6 million additional dollars to be used this coming season. With rookie Pro Bowl kickers popping up and Vinitieri missing several kicks this season I think he's a cap casualty. Bethea has been a great Colt, but has taken a beating the last few years. With him getting up in age and several Pro Bowl, younger, safeties available, ie; Dashon Golson, I think we cut him as well. That would give the Colts approx 53 million in cap space.
A couple of undeniable facts. Andrew Luck
had a ton of time in the pocket at Stanford. They had a great offensive line that protected him. His last two years at Stanford with that time he completed over 70% of his passes. This year, he obviously had to learn the speed of the game, but our line was terrible. Luck was the second most hit, as well as the second most sacked QB in the entire league. When he had time he proved to be very accurate and completed several big passes down the field. When we saw his accuracy struggle was usually on hot routes with 3 guys bearing down on him.
Our main objective MUST BE to overhaul the offensive line. We should go out and sign PRO BOWL caliber lineman this offseason. We have the money and Luck is our franchise. He must have time in the pocket. Costonzo as far as I'm concerned is the only guy who will and should definitely be back, and that said, a move to the RT position might be in his and the Colts best interest.
Pick your poison, Ryan Clady
, Andre Smith, Sebastian Vollmer
, Andy Levitre
, Brandon Albert, Jake Long
, Phil Loadholt
, Gosder Cherilus
, Jermon Bushrod
, Will Beatty
, ect, the Colts absolutely MUST sign 3 of these players. Collin Kaepernik is having success in San Francisco because they have one of the best OLine's in the NFL, same could be said for Russell Wilson
in Sea. The Colts have to protect Luck and allow him to be what he's already proven he is, a near 70% completion rate passer when he has time and can make the reads, sideline to sideline! Obviously signing these guys isn't going to come cheap, I'm guessing on average the cap hit for each one of these guys is gonna be about 6-8 million a pop.
Those clammoring for a wide receiver ... stop it, just stop it. Reggie is obviously 32 years old. That said he just had a great season, he has never been a guy who relied on speed to be successful. He is a great route runner and has terrific hands. Its clear we will need a reciever in the upcoming years, but spending big on one now is senseless. If, IF we look at recievers, the Colts should make a serious effort to sign Julian Eddelman from the Patriots
. He would be a great guy to play in spurts in the slot or on 3rd down.
Defensively we have a ton of holes due to the switch to the 3-4. The Colts should not, and I don't think they will, overspend for DE and NT. If the Colts are going to invest it needs to be at corner, safety and linebacker. We obviously need players in the front 3 but we don't need to overpay for Pro Bowl talent. What we need a big space eaters. We need a legit 350 pound NT as well as a couple of legit 300-320 pound DEs. They don't need to be great pass rushers. They need to fill gaps, take up space, demand a double team due to their size and take on blockers allowing your playmakers, (THE LINEBACKERS) to shoot gaps and not have to constantly take on blockers. Chapman and McKinney are space eaters, getting another NT to rotate at the position with those two is crucial. The DE spots are going to be harder to fill, but Antonio Johnson
, Drake Nevis
should be brought back to at least back up those positions and Redding still likely starts.
At the linebacker slot, Mathis and Freeman are definitely locks to be starters. Angerer is up in the air with the questions surrounding his health as well as questions about how well he fits in the 3-4 scheme. We definitely need to add pass rushers at LB. A couple names the Colts should look at, Paul Kruger
, Anthony Spencer
, Connor Barwin
, Shaun Phillips
At the CB position, its become extremely obvious that Vontae Davis
is an answer. Its probably best in the Colts interest to approach him about an extension so he doesn't price himself out of our range after next year if he plays at a Pro Bowl level like he did the last 5 weeks. With the 3-4 defense you really need to great man corners. We clearly have one, and one only. Butler and Vaughn were good in spurts and the Colts should look to bring back one or both as nickel and dime CBs. Mike Jenkins
of the Cowboys
might be a good risk to take if the money is right. If the Colts want a proven player, they aren't really going to find it in this FA class. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
is the closest thing, but he's been labeled as a guy who has a ton of talent, but plays without heart, constant effort or IQ. Tracy Porter
, Brent Grimes
, Sam Shields
, Cary Williams
all posibilities, all would give the Colts a massive upgrade accross for Vontae.
The Safety spot is going to be a tough one to fill. Zibikowski is a solid player, but I'm not sure he is the answer back there despite his days with Pagano. Bethea is a crowd favorite, but by cutting him we save about 5 million on this years cap. He clearly struggled this year. Might it be wiser to attempt to sign a guy like Dashon Goldson
, who is a Pro Bowl player, signifigantly younger, and the 49ers
should really struggle to resign him given their high priced offensive line, defensive line and linebackers. Jarius Byrd will be a free agent, Patrick Chung, Kenny Phillips
and if you want a safety to play the run, LaRon Landry
would be an option.
At kicker and punter, resigning McAfee is a must. He seems to get better every year and is a young guy. At kicker, there is always a vet kicker out there, but perhaps the Colts could even use their compensation pick on a kicker in round 5 or 6?
When it comes to the draft, I'm not gonna speculate on who we will take, but it comes down to two philosophies. Best player available or position of need. I trust that Grigson will make that call with Pagano. I personally hope that the best player available every time we pick is a defensive guy. I could not argue with an offensive lineman, but of all our positions of need I am hopeful that OLine is the one we fill with proven Pro Bowl caliber vets via free agency.
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.