FanPost

The Best Job in the World - Part 2 of 2

I hope you enjoyed Part 1 of my pretending to be GM for our beloved Colts. In Part 2, I will focus on the Defense and Special Teams. The format stays that same; I will examine each position in detail and outline my reasoning as well as the cap hit. Remember that I still have 4 draft picks and close to $87 million in cap space ($86,804,409 to be exact). So, without further ado let’s jump into the intriguingly complex affair of trying to fix the Colts’ defense.

I should say at this point that I was struck with a dilemma: do I try to portray what could realistically happen (Ricky Jean Francois not getting cut, Greg Toler probably coming back) or what I would like to happen (Every FA dying to sign for us, getting Jarius Byrd for 5 million a year and me becoming the starting RB for the Colts for 1 snap. That’s about as long as I would last)? In the end I decided those two options were too black and white, and I would (damn you, Fifty Shades of Grey) choose to be somewhere in between.

DEFENSIVE LINE: As far as I can tell the D-line is the bedrock on which the defense is built. In the case of the Colts the 3 D-linemen MUST be able to neutralize enough of the opponent’s offensive line to allow Robert Mathis and company a shot at the QB. Similarly they must provide Jerrell Freeman and partner a chance to impact the run game. If the D-line can also get to the QB and stop the run themselves, that’s an added bonus (like some Bourbon whipped cream with a slice of pecan pie). So bear with me, this won’t be short and we will spend lots of other people’s money.

Let me start with the easy bits. Cory Redding should not be cut. He is clearly a leader in the locker room AND a solid player on the D-line who gives it his all every time he is on the field. He is pretty good as well (he has a PFF grade of +18 against the run, and a positive score rushing the passer as well. I should mention that I take all PFF grades with a pinch of salt, because I don’t fully understand their grading scale). He stays.

So do Josh Chapman and Montori Hughes. Hughes is our 4rth round draft pick this year, and I am very curious to see what he can do after a full year in the shadows. I have hopes that Chapman can be the starter at NT very soon, maybe even this upcoming season.

I really want to cut Ricky Jean Francois. But, if you have listened to GM Grigson and Coach Pagano lately, you will probably agree that RJF is not going anywhere. It’s not that he is a terrible player (I actually think he is a bit above average; he has an overall PFF grade of +4.5, and he had some good games), it’s just that it’s killing me to have him as the fourth-highest paid player on the roster. So, I am going to change that.

Enter Randy Starks. For the last several seasons he has been quietly putting together a slew of good performances for the Miami Dolphins. He grades out at being good against the run (PFF rank 5/69 at his position) and at rushing the passer (PFF rank 8/69). He can play in the 3-4 or the 4-3, and I think with his size (6’3"/305lbs), he can rush the passer pretty well from the 3-tech position.

How much to pay him though? This is where RJF and his contract will hurt us. I think we cannot pay Starks less than RJF, so I have him down for a 4 year/22 million deal, or an average of 5.5 million a year (This might be a little optimistic, but Starks is going to be 31 this year) . The 4 years gives him the security of a longer deal, allowing us to give him a little less per year. This gives us a D-line of Starks – Chapman – Redding. Note, that I have seen some people say that we can get Arthur Jones for 5 million/year. I would be ecstatic if we can do that, but I think it’s unlikely we get pretty much the #1 3-4 DE in FA – who is just 27 years old – for anything close to that amount.

Again, I would like to point out that I want to cut RJF or restructure his contract, but I think the Colts won’t do the former, and the latter seems a bit like wishful thinking to me (And yes, I do realize the irony of that statement in an article like this). So we move on, having temporarily found the serenity to accept what cannot be changed.

The next question we MUST address is whether Josh Chapman is ready to be a starter? I think he is, and he played better towards the latter part of last season, but I will get him some veteran help. Pat Sims played for the train wreck that was the Oakland Raiders (but he seemed to have played well, according to PFF and people who spend their time watching Raiders football), so we will bring him in on a 2 year/4 million contract. My favorite thing about Sims might be this quote "I ain’t used to losing. That’s the one thing I don’t like". Welcome to Indy, Pat.

Fili Moala comes back on a 1 year/800,000 deal to provide cover across the line. We can also draft a D-lineman if needed/we find someone good waiting for us.

Ricky Jean Francois

5,125,000

Josh Chapman

548,878

Cory Redding

4,391,668

Montori Hughes

545,493

Randy Starks

5,500,000

Pat Sims

2,000,000

Fili Moala

800,000

CAP HIT

18,911,039

CAP LEFT

67,893,460

INSIDE LINEBACKERS: Thank whomever/whatever you believe in for Jerrell Freeman. He is holding this LB corps together. I hope Josh McNary can be the second ILB, but I still think we MUST draft one with either the Round 2 or the Round 3 pick. I am not very conversant with the draft choices that we have, but I would love to get Chris Borland with our Round 3 pick (Don’t let the fact that I have been living in Madison, WI for over 5 years cloud that statement).

On a side note, maybe Muamba is Freeman v2? I couldn’t resist signing up Desmond Bishop on a 1 year/700,000 deal. Can’t hurt, can it?

Jerrell Freeman

576,668

Josh McNary

495,000

Kelvin Sheppard

1,389,000

Henoc Muamba

420,000

Desmond Bishop

700,000

DRAFT

CAP HIT

3,580,668

CAP LEFT

64,312,792

OUTSIDE LINEBACKERS: Not much I can do here. Robert Mathis has one of the positions tied down, and you can’t cut Erik Walden (he has a negative cap hit, if cut). I actually think that Walden (if overpaid) is adequate for our purposes (as pointed out here by nate.walton1). We can’t have world beaters in every position, and I would take the average of Mathis and Walden (Erbert Walis? Robik MathWal?) to man our OLB spots. Plus, I am VERY curious how Werner and Daniel Adongo develops this season. Andy Studebaker is very good on special teams.

Robert Mathis

8,750,000

Bjoern Werner

1,794,636

Erik Walden

4,250,000

Andy Studebaker

730,000

Daniel Adongo

495,000

CAP HIT

16,019,636

CAP LEFT

48,293,156

SAFETIES: Let the fun begin! I have played it pretty safe until now. We have 40-41 players on the roster, and STILL have more than 48 million in cap space and 2-3 draft picks left! (Okay, one of them is probably the 7th rounder).

Jarius Byrd. I think I will pass. He is obviously looking for a HUGE pay day (I would be too; I am not judging, just saying I don’t want to pay the man). A top 3 level salary for a Safety would approach 10 million a year on average, and that’s a bit too much for me.

I would, however, like to pay Chris Clemmons. He grades out a pretty nice +4.1 at PFF (Antoine Bethea is a surprising – 2.9), and from what I can tell he is pretty good in coverage. The Miami Dolphins seem to be not keen to keep him around, and I think a 4 year/22 million deal would be adequate, as it doubles his current salary and gives him a long term deal. Obviously in this scenario I am not resigning Bethea (who happens to be one of my favorite Colts). Delano Howell and Sergio Brown (who is resigned) are depth, maybe along with Corey Lynch.

Laron Landry cannot (should not?) be cut as that would add an extra 500,000 to our cap hit. Let’s hope he relearns how to tackle and opens a geometry book and learns about angles.

Chris Clemons

5,500,000

Laron Landry

4,750,000

Delano Howell

570,000

Corey Lynch

730,000

Sergio Brown

1,500,000

CAP HIT

13,050,000

CAP LEFT

35,243,156

CORNERBACK: Tarrel Brown is a FA who has been playing for San Francisco for the past few seasons. I think a 3-4 year/12.6-16.8 million deal would be enough to sign him up. He has a +4.4 PPF grade and is relatively young at 28 years of age.

This deal is key because I think the Colts will not cut Greg Toler. His injury history makes me feel pretty secure in betting my 1997 Ford Taurus that we probably won’t be able to start all 16 games next season. Don’t get me wrong; I would LOVE it if he did (Plus, I could convince my wife to get a new car if this one is just…gone), but it seems unlikely. So we get Tarrel Brown who was one of the better CBs in SF last season. With only about 15 million in cap space, it’s very possible that they won’t bring him back.

I think there is now way that Vontae Davis comes back for a deal that’s less than 8 million/year. Even than amount seems low, given that I have seen contracts like 5 year/50 million being bandied about for Alterraun Verner. Anyway, I think Vontae gets something like a 5 year/40 million deal. Is it better to pursue another corner with that money? Maybe Sam Shields (Brent Grimes is not going to leave Miami, Aqib Talib is probably going remain in NE, and I am not sold on Captain Munnerlyn). But whomever we sign, I can’t see it being for much less than 8 million (which would make it the 12th highest CB contract).

We must also draft a CB, as extra cover if/when Toler is unable to take the field and to make up numbers. I advocate drafting a CB with the Round 2 or Round 3 pick. I wish I didn’t feel like I am jinxing Toler with all this talk. Mr. Toler, please knock-on-wood for us. Josh Gordy probably comes back as he is a RFA.

Vontae Davis

8,000,000

Tarell Brown

4,200,000

Greg Toler

4,833,333

Darius Butler

3,000,000

Josh Gordy

570,000

DRAFT

CAP HIT

20,603,333

CAP LEFT

14,639,823

SPECIAL TEAMS: They are not all coming back. I didn’t have the heart to move on from Pat McAfee, so he gets a 3 year/9.3 million contract. I really wanted to bring back Adam Vinatieri as well, but I am out of money. I think we can get a good kicker in the 6th or 7th Round of the draft.

Matt Overton

570,000

DRAFT a Kicker

Pat McAfee

3,100,000

CAP HIT

3,670,000

CAP LEFT

10,969,823

I don’t actually have almost 11 million left. Here’s where this money is going:

DRAFT & UDFAs

7,750,000

DEAD MONEY (cutting Hasselbeck & Satele)

2,566,668

CAP HIT

10,316,668

CAP LEFT

653,155

Not much money left, but I think the actual cap is closer to 132 million, which would add another million to the final CAP LEFT number.

Well, that was quite fun and interesting for me. I have a whole new appreciation for what Grigson and his staff must go through (Yes, I know what I did was a baby version of what they do). I hope these were fun reads for you, and I look forward to comments and learning more about this game that has made me appreciate 300 pound men like never before.




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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