I really don't understand about cap space and dead money and the more esoteric aspects of salary structures in the NFL. I will be honest I just enjoy watching as a fan. I had some off time this a.m. and since I don't have a life I was reading articles and looking at names of players that might be Colts next year and I was thinking we have around $35,000,000 in money to spend next year we should be able to bring in several top players for that kind of money - well I was wrong. I looked at salaries for this past season and I looked at average salary for top 5 paid and then average for players paid 6 - 10. (I did all averages loosely in my head so they are not correct to the penny but should give fans an idea of money being spent.) I realize that salary may not have a direct correlation with on field performance but I also realize that at least in the minds of general managers and owners that there is at least some correlation.
With that explanation I gather that most/many Colt fans (me included) feel that we really have to upgrade our center - well the average salary for the top 5 paid centers in the league last year was $7,000,000 - and (6-10) was $4,500,000 - Satele was the 12th best paid at $3,600,000. So if we are going to pursue a top rated center we are going to have to double what we are paying.
Some fans felt it was important to bring in a top guard to help the line play - well top paid guards (1-5) average $8,000,000 a year and (6-10) make around $6,400,000 - Donald Thomas last years FA guard came in at under $3,000,000 - not in the top 25 salaries by position.
Now if we switch over to defense let us look at the defensive ends positions - a top 5 DE is paid around $13,000,000 and (6-10) makes around $11,000,000. Our two highest paid defensive lineman make on average $4,500,000
I think I am leaning toward a stud ILB to help with the run defense - (1-5) average $9,000,000 and (6-10) average $7,500,000. I think Pat Angerer is our top paid ILB and he comes in under $2,000,000.
It would be nice to bring in some help at OLB (1-5) make about $11,000,000 and (6-10) make about $8,200,000 and so Robert Mathis is in this group but Walden comes in at $3,000,000 way less then half of what a top 10 olb will be getting paid.
Now we are to a position of glamour - the cornerbacks - a top 5 corner back gets paid on average $11,000,000 a year and the (6-10) highest paid make around 8.m - Is Vontae Davis a top 10 corner in this league? I don't know if he is or not but last year he made less than 2m. I am going to assume the Colts to keep him are going to have to get near the 8m dollar mark - he should be considered one of the top 10 corner backs in the league? And then if we want to bring in another top corner to take Toler's place - like Alterraun Verner we will be looking at closer to the $11m dollar tag.
Should the Colts drop Bethea at round $6,000,00 and replace him with one of the top safeties in the league - well (1-5) will be around $8.5m and (6-10) will come in at around 7m - Landry came in last year as a bargain - if he had performed as well as expected.
I am not sure what this article says expect maybe I am a fool to waste time on such silliness but anyway after looking at last year average salaries I think maybe the Colts did not overpay so much last year as tried to bring players at a bargain - we may have overpaid for what we got - but we did not pay anyone to be a top player at their position. The NFL is a business and the players are the commodity and they realize they have a fairly short shelf life and so they are looking to make what they can - because once they lose a step or a nagging injury just doesn't go away - their careers are over.
Dollars came from Spotrac and again I was more interested in ball-park figures then doing the math.