Obviously a lot of speculation out there on who the Colts should sign this offseason, but the fact remains that a lot of these guys may re-sign with their current teams. I took a look at team salary situations and tried to get a general impression from other SBNation sites on who might actually be available that the Colts would want. I focused primarily on OL, OLB, and DB since those are the biggest areas of need.
Guards - Available
Andy Levitre or Chad Rinehart - Buffalo is in decent cap shape, but already re-signed one of their guards. They also have Jairus Byrd as a big name free agent and the general pulse seems to be he will be their top priority. Not sure if both these guys make it to free agency, but it seems more than likely that at least one will. Levitre is the better known and will come with the higher price tag, but Rinehart is a solid starter in his own right. The second either of these guys hits FA the Colts should be all over them.
Louis Vasquez - It's about 50-50 but I think he hits FA as well. Chargers might be moving to a zone blocking scheme and the consensus seems to be that Vasquez is a better fit for power blocking. This is good news for the Colts if they can pick up one or more of these interior linemen.
Kevin Boothe - Giants have a salary cap problem and word is Boothe wants to test FA. With the cap dollars to spend, I think we are all hoping for one of the big two guys to come our way, but Boothe is a solid plan B.
Tackles - Available
Jake Long - Impression out of Miami is that he will command too much money to justify the talent he is currently showing on the field. Obviously there is some risk here, given that he has struggled with injuries recently, but if we signed him; I think I would be excited.
Sam Baker - There is a chance he re-ups with Atlanta, but I think he goes. He didn't show much until his contract year, so buyer beware. However, he would be an upgrade of Winston Justice. Can't say as I would be overly excited about bringing him in, but wouldn't be upset either.
Tackles - Unavailable
Sebastian Vollmer - This one is sort of on the fence, but forced to guess I think he re-signs in New England. I think if someone else came hard with a big offer, NE will not match but I don't know that we want him bad enough to make that offer.
Phil Loadholt - I give him about a 25% chance of hitting FA, which is why he is down here. Vikes should have enough cap space to bring him back. If not I think he would be a consideration for the Colts.
Brandon Albert - I would say about the same odds as Loadholt. Of the two big FAs in KC, Bowe is the more likely to depart. And we know Andy Reid loves his linemen.
Ryan Clady - No way in hell they let Peyton's blind side protector hit FA. Sounds like he is getting tagged.
Andre Smith - Bengals have gobs of cap space and Marvin Lewis is already on the record saying resigning FAs is a top priority.
Will Beatty - Even with the Giants cap situation it sounds like they might tag Beatty. He's not going anywhere.
Corners - Available
Dominique Rogers-Cromartie - The Eagles have a mess on their hands and DRC is likely to walk. Already reported they will not tag him. A bit of a headcase, but may not be a bad option. The price tag will be high, so it's not without risk.
Sean Smith - Miami has tons of cap space, but Smith seems to be on the fence whether they bring him back or not. They may not be willing to give his asking price. I think he could be had, but will likely have to overpay to get him.
Keenan Lewis - Pittsburgh will have trouble re-signing some of their FAs. I admit I haven't seen much of Lewis, but anything is an upgrade over what we have.
Aqib Talib - What else is there to say... someone will take a chance. Personally I would pass.
Cary Williams - Have we talked this one to death yet?
Corners - Unavailable
Derek Cox - Will probably re-sign with the Jags. They seem to want him back. Not sure I like him as a man-cover guy anyway.
Chris Houston - There is a chance he hits FA because Detroit has some salary cap trouble, but I am guessing they do what they can to retain Houston.
Safety - Available
William Moore - I think Atlanta wants to re-sign him if they can find the cap space. I would say its 50-50 at the moment. If he makes to to free agency, the Colts should definitely give him a look. He would provide the long absent enforcer on defense.
Safety – Unavailable
Glover Quin – I think he ultimately resigns with the Texans, but it is far from certain. They have a lot of FAs to resign and not sure whether they will tag him. I would put him behind either of the guys above, but it’s never bad to hurt a division rival while helping yourself.
Kenny Phillips - This is another 50-50 guy who might hit free agency. I'm not as high on him as some others, but he has earned a bump in pay. Ultimately it may come down to how the Giants manage their cap situation but I think he land back in NY.
Laron Landry - Jets have already done a lot of salary dumping, so I am guessing they bring back Landry.
Dashon Goldson - Niners have a salary cap mess, but they will do anything they can to get Goldson back. I don't think he is going anywhere.
Jairus Byrd - Probably going to get tagged.
Ed Reed - Would you really want him at 34 anyway? My money is on him retiring a Raven.
OLB – Available
Paul Kruger – Almost certainly out the door and due for a big payday. Plenty of discussion on him already so I will move on.
Anthony Spencer or Victor Butler –Cowboys are in salary cap jail. They team seems to be making noise that they want to keep Spencer, but the numbers just don’t add up. Slightly better than 50% chance he hits FA and he would be a great add for the Colts. Butler obviously isn’t as talented, but isn’t bad in his own right. He might be a cheaper alternative to Spencer. Seems likely at least one of the two will be on the market.
Cliff Avril – Wants way more money than the Lions can afford. He will be on the market. Would not be my first choice as far as scheme fit, but he is only 27 and a strong pass rusher.
Connor Barwin – Might stay might go. I think the Texans make him an offer. If he refuses it, then he is likely more than we want to spend anyway.
Shaun Phillips – Probably gone from San Diego. The question here will be gauging the value of a 32 year old rush LB. He will be out there, but I don’t think I want him.
With the pool narrowed a bit, I’ll update my wish list in order of priority.
1.) Anthony Spencer – 3 years @ $24million
All around good player. At 29 he is a little older than preferable, but we need someone to lock down that OLB spot. Pass rushers always come at a premium, but we have the cap dollars to spend, so this isn’t a bad place to do it.
2.) Louis Vasquez – 5 years @ $35million
Our interior line last year was an embarrassment. With several quality guards available, we figure to land at least one. Vasquez gets the nod over Levitre because I like him in a power blocking scheme.
3.) Louis Delmas – 4 years @ $16.5million
Has spent his share of time on the injured list, but is an all around player at SS when he is healthy. Still young at 26, so he could lock down that spot for quite a while.
4.) Sean Smith – 4 years @ $23.5million
I am far less passionate about this one, but not much of a secret we need a CB opposite Davis. This is apparently the guy that made Davis expendable in Miami? Not sure if I buy that, but he is a solid starter and still young. If we miss here, I might opt to wait for the draft and hope Desmond Trufant falls in our lap.
5.) Chad Rinehart – 3 years @ $6million
In a way, I am almost hoping Levitre re-signs because I really like Rinehart as a sneaky pickup at a much cheaper price. He played well when Levitre was injured and is far better than anyone we have currently.