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Why the Colts have done nothing in free agency

Tommy Ellingworth
The first wave of free agency has come and gone. With it, free agent hopefuls like Warrick Dunn, Travis LaBoy, Sam Aiken, and Brendan Ayanbadejo are all signed to other teams. Still available are players like LBer Mario Haggan, DT Anthony Hargrove, RB Derrick Ward, and even WR Drew Carter (who many thought would cash in with free agency) are still available. So, it's still possible that the Colts will use free agency to fill some needs, but don't expect them to break the bank.

According to Colts Cap, the Colts are only $4 million under the cap, and unlike the Philadelphia Eagles (who are spending as if they expect an uncapped year sometime soon while the owners and players fight over the Collective Bargaining Agreement), the Colts are not going to mortgage the future to "win now." Even with McFarland cut, the Colts still have a lot of dead cap with Corey Simon ($6 million). The money they currently have is just enough to sign rookie draft picks and rookie free agents. This means the Colts have to free up some money, because while I am happy with this roster, more veteran depth is needed. The only free agent to visit the team was this nobody, and he opted to sign with Carolina.

I'm not questioning Polian or his strategy. He's kind of beyond that now. He could draft a plethora of Ryan Leafs and sign a herd of Corey Simons for the next five years, and his legacy as one of the best personnel directors in NFL history would still be intact. However, several affordable options (like Aiken and Dunn) were available, and Polian didn't sign them. Now, I am very happy he is aware that Indy's return game is not very special. One of the rookies Indy is targeting is a chap from Augustana College in Sioux Falls named Tommy Ellingworth. Ellingworth is 5'10, and ran an eye-EXPLODING  4.37 at his college Pro Day. Just to give you a comparison, Adrian Peterson ran a 4.37 at the Combine last season. Ellingworth is known as a returner in college, but he's not Troy Williamson catching the football (211 grabs for 2,398 yards in his college career). After his Pro Day drills, Colts scouts took an eye to Ellingworth:

The Indianapolis Colts scout showed enough interest in Ellingworth that he requested he undergo additional skill testing upon completion of the Pro Day events.

"I stayed another half an hour or so," said Ellingworth. "My agent said that was uncommon for a player to be asked to do that. So I have that in my favor. I had to do some ball drills and ran about 30 routes."

Players like this a specialty for Polian, and while I have total faith in Polian's skills, the Colts really need to bring in some veteran talent for some of these duties. Rookies and young guys are great, but there's something to be said about a talented veteran that is playoff tested.

As always, we'll wait and see.

Update [2008-3-11 10:32:3 by BigBlueShoe]: Yahoo Sports (via the NFL Players Association) is now saying Indy is $7.6 million under the cap. This quote from an unnamed source is interesting:

"There’s nothing left to buy in free agency," one agent said. "The market is just about dead now. Yeah, you have the rookies, but that’s not the big deal that everybody makes it out to be. A couple of guys get huge deals, but everything else is slotted. "Really, the way the cap is now, teams don’t have to sweat the cap. There’s a ton of money out there to spend, but they’re not spending. It’s not like five or six years ago."
Look at Tampa Bay: They have over $40 million in cap space! that's insane.