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How the Colts Spend Their Money + Salary Cap Update

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NFL: Tennessee Titans at Indianapolis Colts Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

With the final stretch of the season coming up, it’s time to look ahead and see how the Colts stand in terms of the salary cap. We’ll break down their positional salary cap spending, how it compares to the NFL average, their projected salary cap number for next season and their notable impending free agents.

The figures used are from Spotrac.com and Overthecap.com and are based on the current “Active Roster” players in the NFL.

Quarterbacks

Colts Spending: $25,176,076

Percentage of Salary Cap: 12.97%

NFL Average: $17,114,528

Colts Player with the Largest Cap Hit: Andrew Luck — $24,400,000

It all comes down to the production and Luck produces at an elite level in the NFL. He is well worth the money and there isn’t much more to say.

Running Backs

Colts Spending: $1,861,358

Percentage of Salary Cap: 0.96%

NFL Average: 5,055,948

Colts Player with the Largest Cap Hit: Nyheim Hines — $661,137

The numbers of this group are quite surprising. It’s the lowest paid offensive or defensive group on the team and considering the amount of production they’ve gotten from the running backs, it’s a fantastic bargain. The group is averaging 4.5 yards per carry and 1242 on the season. Both are average figures compared to the rest of the league, but considering the small amount of money the Colts have in them, it’s a great investment!

Receivers

Colts Spending: $19,517,647

Percentage of Salary Cap: 10.06%

NFL Average: $16,093,723

Colts Player with the Largest Cap Hit: $13,000,000

This might not be a great investment for the Colts this season. While TY Hilton has done many TY Hilton things this season, the group has been marred by inconsistent play, filled with poor route running and bad drops. Their play has improved in recent weeks, but this group has not lived up to their $19M+ billing.

Tight Ends

Colts Spending: $13,131,981

Percentage of Salary Cap: 6.77%

NFL Average: $6,833,466

Colts Player with the Largest Cap Hit: Eric Ebron — $6,750,000

This group is one of the highest paid tight end groups in the NFL, but this group has earned every penny. Eric Ebron is tied for most touchdowns (11) in the NFL and Jack Doyle’s play has been top notch before suffering a season-ending injury. Mo Alie-Cox and Erik Swoope have also been nice pieces. This group has been the best in football, so it’s obviously been a great investment!

Offensive Line

Colts Spending: $22,526,861

Percentage of Salary Cap: 11.61%

NFL Average: $26,090,929

Colts Player with the Largest Cap Hit: Anthony Castonzo — $10,800,000

Like the tight end group, the Colts offensive line has been amongst the best in the NFL this season. Unlike the tight end group, this group’s spending is below the NFL average. With Quenton Nelson and Ryan Kelly still in rookie deals, the Colts are getting great bargains. This is a young group that should be a bright spot for many years to come.

Defensive Line

Colts Spending: $23,064,359

Percentage of Salary Cap: 11.89%

NFL Average: $25,190,996

Colts Player with the Largest Cap Hit: Jabaal Sheard — $7,500,000

The defensive line has had an up and down season. Some weeks they look invisible and others they look very good. Considering the Colts have spent the NFL average on the group and the group has been average for the most part, you can call this one a modest investment. Jabaal Sheard, their largest individual investment, has had a nice season along with rookie Kemoko Turay. The interior defensive lineman haven’t been as strong as the edge defenders, which can hurt the group at times.

Linebackers

Colts Spending: $4,889,232

Percentage of Salary Cap: 2.52%

NFL Average: $17,671,703

Colts Player with the Largest Cap Hit: Darius Leonard — $1,317,782

This group has had a fantastic season, led by defensive rookie of the year front-runner and defensive player of the year sleeper, Darius Leonard. He’s a rookie, so his contract is very affordable and considering his play, he should be making 10 times more. Anthony Walker and the other linebackers all make less than 1 million and the group has been steady for most of the season.

Cornerbacks

Colts Spending: $5,137,021

Percentage of Salary Cap: 2.65%

NFL Average: $14,190,952

Colts Player with the Largest Cap Hit: Pierre Desir — $1,562,500

Considering the amount spent compared to the NFL average, you can definitely say this group has been a good bargain, but overall, this group is average at best compared to the rest of the NFL. This group can definitely benefit by adding a star player in this year’s free agency class and considering the cap space and the amount the Colts have spent on this group, this is very doable and should be something the Colts pursue in the offseason.

Safeties

Colts Spending: $5,261,136

Percentage of Salary Cap: 2.71%

NFL Average: $9,537,528

Colts Player with the Largest Cap Hit: Malik Hooker — $2,863,615

Malik Hooker, on his rookie contract, is one of the best individual bargains in the NFL when talking about safeties. Clayton Geathers has had an underwhelming year and was outplayed early on in the season by Matthias Farley, who was put on Injured Reserve. This group has performed well considering the amount of spending the Colts have put into them, but this is also a group that can benefit from some free agency spending.

Special Teams

Colts Spending: 4,184,000

Percentage of Salary Cap: 2.16%

NFL Average: $4,435,608

Colts Player with the Largest Cap Hit: Adam Vinatieri — $3,625,000

It’s tough to compare special teams spending around the league. The reality of special teams is: do the punter and kicker perform well? If the answer is yes, then the spending is almost irrelevant. This group has performed very well this season.

Salary Cap Update

The Colts currently have $49,338,629 in cap space according to Over the Cap. With all that money projected to carry over and with the salary cap expected to rise to $190,000,000 next season, the Colts should have approximately $123,610,387 in cap space next season.

It’s worth noting that the Colts need to spend a certain amount of money to avoid being in breach of not meeting the NFL Salary Cap floor. In four year increments, starting in 2017 and going until 2020, NFL teams are required to spend at least 89% of their cap space in cash. The league is entering the third year of the four year cycle and the Colts will enter the 2019 offseason having only spent 68.4% of their salary cap.

In short, expect the Colts to spend some money this offseason so they don’t have to go crazy next offseason to meet the NFL salary cap floor.

Notable 2019 Free Agents

Pierre Desir

Matthias Farley

Clayton Geathers

Ryan Grant

Margus Hunt

Adam Vinatieri

Al Woods

All in all, the Colts are in very good shape! Many of the position groups are performing extremely well compared to the amount of money the Colts have invested in them. This is a strong, young team with a lot of money in the bank moving forward. The team benefits from a lot of great rookie contracts, so I expect the Colts to be very active in free agency over the next couple of years.