The Indianapolis Colts could have quite a bit of salary cap space to work with this offseason. According to NFL Media's Rand Getlin, the salary cap in 2016 is expected to be at least $155 million, representing a nearly $12 million increase from last year's cap.
The rising salary cap is good news for the Colts, who have several decisions to make on some key free agents this offseason. Using the numbers from Over the Cap, the Colts will have close to $25 million in cap space to work with ($24,559,614).
Just because there is a significant increase in the salary cap, however, doesn't mean that we should expect the Colts to suddenly change their offseason plans and become big players in free agency. The team has several players of their own that they would like to re-sign, and that is likely where the majority of their focus this offseason in free agency will lie. Inside linebacker Jerrell Freeman, kicker Adam Vinatieri, tight ends Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen, and safety Dwight Lowery, among others, could be guys the Colts would like to bring back, and so with the increase in salary cap space, I'd expect the team to use a lot of it to keep their own around. Furthermore, the Colts hope to lock up Andrew Luck long-term with a huge extension this offseason, meaning the extra cap space could come in handy.
Of course, there's another factor at play too: the Colts could release some players and create a significant amount of additional cap room. Earlier this year, we looked at five potential cap casualties for Indy, such as Trent Cole and Andre Johnson, and by parting ways with some of their veteran players they could create even more room to work with. Again, though, don't expect them to change their philosophy if they make those moves, as the focus this offseason will be on re-signing their own, getting younger, and building around Andrew Luck. That might mean a veteran signing or two, but it's unlikely the team will be major players as they have been in past years. Either way, though, the team should have a significant amount of money to work with this offseason thanks to the increasing salary cap.