[Editor's Note: Please welcome Daniel Young to Stampede Blue! -Brad]
I was not expecting the Colts to have an 11-5 season, nor was I expecting this Colts team to get anywhere near the playoffs. In fact, I was probably more against that idea that Jim Mora, all those years ago.
However, with the team being where they are now, coming off that 11-5 season and a playoff berth (losing to the eventual super bowl champion), there's a lot of optimism in Naptown.
The best part: it's easy to see where the team is lacking. It's not going to take a draft and a bunch of close-your-eyes-and-wing-it decisions to put this team in the perfect position to win a championship. The Colts offense has needs, sure, however, where they really need a pick-me-up is on the other side of the ball. With roughly $43M of cap space, there isn't a better time to make some moves.
We're going to start with the defensive line.
There's a lot of speculation on whether or not the Colts are going to resign Fili Moala. With that in mind, the Colts need to be taking a serious look at Chiefs Defensive End Glenn Dorsey. He's a solid 3-4 guy who the Colts could pick up for a moderate price. Not to mention: he missed some time last season, so that could drop his price even more. Being almost solely a run-stuffer, the Colts should be drooling at the mouth for this guy. The Colts already have an adequate number of pass rushers. It's about time they signed someone who can shed some blocks and make some tackles.
Along with Fili Moala, there's a lot of talk about how the Colts are going to handle Dwight Freeney over the next few years. He's getting up there in age and he's rather expensive. It would be extremely wise for the Colts to start thinking about his replacement, and they just might have him in Bengals Defensive End Michael Johnson. At 6'7" 270, he's being called a young Julius Peppers. At the young age of 26, Johnson recorded 11.5 sacks for the Bengals this past season. I know we're talking about defensive linemen here, however, his pass rushing ability would make him an absolute nightmarish 3-4 outside linebacker. Is Cincy going to let him go? Probably not, but I can dream, can't I?
Another guy the Colts need to be keeping their eye on is Dallas Cowboys Stud, Anthony Spencer. He'd be another replacement for Dwight Freeney, and someone who could excel as a DE or an OLB in Pagano's 3-4. He's yet to enter his prime, meaning the Colts should be able to sign a very reasonable 3 or 4 year deal. Not to mention: he's a Fort Wayne native and a Purdue grad, so Indiana just seems like the picture perfect fit. Dallas tagged him last season, however, the two sides couldn't agree on anything long-term. I highly doubt the Cowboys tag him again.
I couldn't help but throw in Michael Johnson. However, he's probably going to be tagged by the Bengals, so why shouldn't the Colts take a look at the next man in line? That would be 28-year old Wallace Gilberry (whatta name). He had 7.5 sacks for Cincinnati this past season, and he played in a 3-4 defense in Kansas City, so he has experience there. An opportunity with the Colts could seem very appealing, especially if the Bengals end up tagging Johnson. Now, Gilberry can be a little disruptive on the field, and he's had his issues off the field. So, if someone like Lions' DE Cliff Avril becomes available, Grigson might take that route. However, this seems like the most realistic possibility, at the moment.