Managing Players and Salary Cap- Darius Leonard

Chris Ballard continues to draft incredibly well. He and his team struggle with CB and DE for whatever reason, but he has been stellar otherwise. As we enter the 2021 season, the Colts are finally coming to the point where they can no longer keep every player drafted who plays well. This is a great problem to have, but means they are going to have to let some players walk or trade them.

As much as I don't like the Patsies, they have been great at this for years. They let players go who are still contributing a lot, trading some for draft picks and letting others turn into comp picks. Ballard and team are awesome with the cap, but we haven't been tested with very many big time FA's that are homegrown. I think we need to follow the Patriots model.

This brings up 2021 and 65 mil in cap space. Looking at, the Colts don't have a single bad contract on the books (now that JB's contract has fallen off). Remember the days of large contracts for Trent Cole, Andre Johnson and Laron Landry? No more! That 65 million looks nice, but it will go oh so quickly. Big Q, whether he plays LT or LG, will command a contract that will be around 20 mil per year (he has a 5th year option but the extension is coming soon one way or the other). Braden Smith will surely get 14-15 mil per year as a top 5 (at least in my opinion) RT. If we keep Xavier Rhodes or replace him, we are going to have to pay 10m+ for our next CB1. I am really doubtful that we find our LT and QB of the future in the same draft where we pick 21st, so I fully expect to pay someone at one of those positions 10-20 mil depending on who it is. Suddenly, the 65 mil we have in cap room is gone just with those moves, not to mention TY (or another vet WR like A Robinson), Autry or Houston, OL depth, TE, etc.

The other problem is the huge question surrounding the Colts... how are we going to get a stud QB here? If it comes through trade, it will take at least a 1st (or more... dang Rams!) and then we have to pay a huge salary. Wentz will supposedly either stay in Philly or be traded for a some picks, perhaps a 1st. He would bring a 30 mil cap hit for the next 3 years. If it comes through the draft, we are likely surrendering a decent amount of draft capital, meaning we fill more holes in Free Agency. All of this said, we still haven't touched on another Colt that will demand a big salary, Darius Leonard.

Darius is a stud. He is a great weakside LB who is an all pro and will no doubt has many great seasons of football ahead of him. What was interesting was watching last year as the Colts D played the best it had in years, but also was inconsistent as can be. He didn't have as great a year as he had his 1st 2, and yet we still were as effective as ever. I know this is blasphemous around here, but as good as Leonard is, is he really necessary to make this D go? I know he is a locker room leader, and that alone may make this impossible, but I feel like we could plug in Okereke, possibly resign Walker and groom Speed or draft another LB (our scouts have that position down) and still be 95% as effective as before. It's not a knock on Darius, but more so a reality that we can't pay everyone and we pull a San Fran where we trade a guy at a position of strength before he is about to get PAID and get a 1st rounder out of it. It would depend on scheme fit, but I would have to think Darius is worth a 1st rounder in the 20's to the right team. Take that along with our 1st round pick and go after your QB of the future.

Feel free to disagree. I would like to know how you see this offseason shaking out, where we are going to spend money and what position we will let go if we make Darius the highest paid weakside LB, Q the highest paid lineman and possibly spend some big bucks (and draft capital) on a vet QB.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of Stampede Blue's writers or editors.