With the Indianapolis Colts having finally landed their new starting quarterback, Matt Ryan, one key question is how much remaining available team salary cap space does the franchise currently have this offseason?
Since there is no new contract extension or restructuring for the longtime former Atlanta Falcons quarterback in Indianapolis, he carries a $24.7M cap hit in 2022 ($17.2M in base salary + $7.5M roster bonus), which brings down the Colts’ available team salary cap number to $15.9M (via OverTheCap).
While that number appears relatively low to make multiple meaningful moves (especially with a rookie class also coming in), the Colts do have the ability to restructure some of their higher paid top players:
The Colts should have no problem at all restructuring deals of players you know you're keeping. Very low risk of dead money.— Kyle Rapoza (@ColtscapKyle) March 21, 2022
For example, restructuring Buckner, Leonard, Braden, Kelly gets you back above $40 million in cap room without even adding void years.
However, it’s a fair question of whether ordinarily financially prudent Colts general manager Chris Ballard will chase some of these remaining free agents—but we’re already in the third wave of free agency or so, so there may be potential veteran bargains to be had, which is traditionally his signing ‘sweet spot’.
Among more cost efficient options could be veteran offensive tackle Duane Brown or safety Tyrann Mathieu, and maybe, just maybe, the Colts could make a play for ‘big fish’ blindside anchor Terron Armstead—who’s one of the best starting left tackles in all of football.
What’s also important to point out about Ryan’s current deal is that in 2023, he’s owed a $29.32M cap hit, but none of it results in a dead cap hit if released—meaning the Colts could cut him with no salary cap ramifications next offseason—should he prove to be ‘washed’ during his debut Indy campaign.
(That being said, the Colts made this deal with confidence that this will be at least a two-year stint for Ryan, and it would be surprising if his play dipped that much so drastically).
Right now, the Colts still have options, which is good because they also have some sizable holes—namely at left tackle, wide receiver, tight end, and cornerback, and a lack of a first round pick to help safely fill at least one of them. It might just take some maneuvering and a little creativity.
Update (10:37 AM EST): Some of these numbers may actually be changing—as the Colts could gain even more cap space as Ryan reportedly has restructured his contract: