On Monday night, Colts owner Jim Irsay met with the media along with general manager Ryan Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano to discuss Pagano's four-year contract extension with the team. While there wasn't much of a chance to talk about what changes may still be coming and where the Colts will move going forward in terms of their personnel, Irsay did make one interesting comment about the state of his team (emphasis mine).
"These guys started out never having been a head coach and general manager before and they've accomplished a lot more, a lot more than most would have ever accomplished in their first four years," Irsay said. "We want more and all that sort of thing, but Andrew [Luck] is going to be healthy. We're excited. We're going to have to get probably a little bit younger going forward and that sort of thing, but we're excited about the future. I'm just really happy that we're able to use the continuity, to use our experience and to go forward like I said. You can make a big splash and all that sort of thing, but this, trust me, is best for our franchise. It really is, and I'm excited about being able to get it done and be here tonight on Monday night."
When Irsay talked about moving forward and looking at the future of his team, he pointed out two main things: 1) the obvious fact that Andrew Luck needs to stay healthy, and 2) that the Colts need to get younger. The first part is common sense, but the second part is an admission from the owner of the team that they need to get younger overall.
The Colts, as you may know, are a rather old team. On the Colts' current active roster, they have 15 guys 30 years old or older, including two players 40 or older. They are key contributors, too, mainly on the defensive side of the football. Mike Adams is 34, Robert Mathis is 34, D'Qwell Jackson is 32, Greg Toler is 31, Trent Cole is 33, Erik Walden is 30. Offensively, Frank Gore is 32 and Andre Johnson is 34. The Colts are an older team, and a large part of that is because of their activity in free agency. The Colts have been desperately trying to plug holes with older veterans in order to win now, but now that Pagano and Grigson both have more security, I wonder if we'll see less of the "win now" type moves with older players and more of an emphasis on building a foundation for sustained success. Jim Irsay's comments on Monday night would certainly seem to indicate that might be the case, as he said that they need to get younger.
The Colts can part ways with several of their older players this offseason if they so choose, and while I don't think it will be a mass exodus of older players leaving the franchise, I do think that we will see youth and the long-term outlook play a bigger role in the moves the team makes this offseason than it did in recent years.