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SOMDColtsfan

Free Agency vs Draft?

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Its often heard building a team with free agents will get said team in cap space problems in a hurry. How then did the Colts get in cap space problems this past year when they signed very few free agents in the past and drafted no higher than 24th in the 1st round with Dallas Clark early in the 2000`s? No big money on free agents or huge top ten 1st rounders ? The Washington Redskins, for example, on the other hand seemed to always be splurging on free agents AND picking top ten in the 1st round. Plus, we always seemed to be letting some quality veteran guys on defense go in the past like Mike Petersen and Marcus Washington just as they hit their prime. Doesnt make sense

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By over paying our own free agents
Exactly. So many people forget that signing Addai, Mathis, Freeney, Clark, Manning, Wayne , Harrison, Sanders, Saturday, Bethea, Hayden, were all big FA signings that came from our own team. The problem was, most every one o these players had to be the highest paid at the position kinda guys it seemed. The overpaying Hayden and Sanders and to some degree Clark was what set this team back in cap space. Heck even Dien was moderately overpaid near the end and setting up a contract that made us pay Freeney 19 mil in cap is insane.

Next season we will have a few FA big signings with Macafee and what will Avery and a few other guys be asking for? Will Freeney stay or will he over price his talent for Indy? We need oline talent and new DE for the 3-4 scheme as well as replacement talent at the OLB spot/s

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jvan's response says it all.  While Polian was a very good evaluator of talent, cap management was not his strongsuit.  We would overpay our own guys.  I don't know why, but it seems like we were always out to have the highest paid guy.  With Peyton, I think his two most recent contracts with Indy made him the highest paid player in the league.  Freeney's contract made him one of the league's highest paid players and the highest paid defensive player.  Bob Sanders' contract made him the highest paid safety.  I don't know if there were any others.

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Way way way overpaid. And later years his drafting was horrible. Just slinging out contracts to often injured players or mediocre at best players

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I remember reading Polian saying 1st priority was to resign our own FA`s. But I don`t recall the Colts ever at the top of the "highest NFL team salaries" list. Overpaying our own free agents makes sense though as to how the cap numbers were stretched without free agent signings (outside of the Colts) or the big 1st round contracts

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jvan's response says it all. While Polian was a very good evaluator of talent, cap management was not his strongsuit. We would overpay our own guys. I don't know why, but it seems like we were always out to have the highest paid guy. With Peyton, I think his two most recent contracts with Indy made him the highest paid player in the league. Freeney's contract made him one of the league's highest paid players and the highest paid defensive player. Bob Sanders' contract made him the highest paid safety. I don't know if there were any others.

Polians downfall in regards to signing his own FA's to big contracts was they were mostly all very good players but his misses in later years of the draft did not allow him leverage to let anyone go without creating a talent void. Like a gambling addict, polian kept hoping to turn his luck around while paying high rate interest charges on those contracts. The sanders failure and the Hayden contract was the undoing of his ability to build a better team.

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jvan's response says it all.  While Polian was a very good evaluator of talent, cap management was not his strongsuit.  We would overpay our own guys.  I don't know why, but it seems like we were always out to have the highest paid guy.  With Peyton, I think his two most recent contracts with Indy made him the highest paid player in the league.  Freeney's contract made him one of the league's highest paid players and the highest paid defensive player.  Bob Sanders' contract made him the highest paid safety.  I don't know if there were any others.

 

Clark was the highest paid tight end at the time. 

 

I don't think Polian's cap management was a problem. I think toward the end his drafting slipped (or his son's drafting was bad, depending on whom you believe), so he made the decision to continue resigning guys like Addai and Brackett that otherwise would have been allowed to walk. Clark was no longer living up to his contract, same with Hayden, Sanders, etc. Some of those contracts wound up not being very good for the team, but that happens sometimes. When you combine that with poor drafting, now you're in trouble.

 

But in reality, the contracts Polian did were all meant to be addressed at some point. Freeney's contract, for instance, I'm sure, was never meant to be played out entirely. Manning's cap penalty was considered a longshot a year and a half ago when the deal was done. Even with the releases we made -- Clark, Addai, Bullitt, Brackett -- that resulted in about $25m in cap penalties, by restructuring, trading or simply terminating Freeney's contract, we'd have had significantly more cap space in 2012. 

 

He didn't do everything right with regard to the cap, and he did tend to slightly overpay his own guys rather than grossly overpay other teams' free agents, for better or worse. But I don't think he struggled with the cap, not at all. 

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Clark was the highest paid tight end at the time. 

 

I don't think Polian's cap management was a problem. I think toward the end his drafting slipped (or his son's drafting was bad, depending on whom you believe), so he made the decision to continue resigning guys like Addai and Brackett that otherwise would have been allowed to walk. Clark was no longer living up to his contract, same with Hayden, Sanders, etc. Some of those contracts wound up not being very good for the team, but that happens sometimes. When you combine that with poor drafting, now you're in trouble.

 

But in reality, the contracts Polian did were all meant to be addressed at some point. Freeney's contract, for instance, I'm sure, was never meant to be played out entirely. Manning's cap penalty was considered a longshot a year and a half ago when the deal was done. Even with the releases we made -- Clark, Addai, Bullitt, Brackett -- that resulted in about $25m in cap penalties, by restructuring, trading or simply terminating Freeney's contract, we'd have had significantly more cap space in 2012. 

 

He didn't do everything right with regard to the cap, and he did tend to slightly overpay his own guys rather than grossly overpay other teams' free agents, for better or worse. But I don't think he struggled with the cap, not at all. 

 

 

 

What some don't realize is that not only do you overpay for other teams free agents , you have to overpay to keep your own. Just the nature of the beast. Polian made some mistakes but it was drafts 2006 -  2010 that did us in. Jury is still out on 2011 but if Nevis and Costanzo don't pan out , that one won't be all that fancey either. 

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Clark was the highest paid tight end at the time. 

 

I don't think Polian's cap management was a problem. I think toward the end his drafting slipped (or his son's drafting was bad, depending on whom you believe), so he made the decision to continue resigning guys like Addai and Brackett that otherwise would have been allowed to walk. Clark was no longer living up to his contract, same with Hayden, Sanders, etc. Some of those contracts wound up not being very good for the team, but that happens sometimes. When you combine that with poor drafting, now you're in trouble.

 

But in reality, the contracts Polian did were all meant to be addressed at some point. Freeney's contract, for instance, I'm sure, was never meant to be played out entirely. Manning's cap penalty was considered a longshot a year and a half ago when the deal was done. Even with the releases we made -- Clark, Addai, Bullitt, Brackett -- that resulted in about $25m in cap penalties, by restructuring, trading or simply terminating Freeney's contract, we'd have had significantly more cap space in 2012. 

 

He didn't do everything right with regard to the cap, and he did tend to slightly overpay his own guys rather than grossly overpay other teams' free agents, for better or worse. But I don't think he struggled with the cap, not at all. 

You are probably far more educated on the issue than I am. But with what you said in mind, about Polian making contracts to readdress them later on, is that a good move? What if you backload a contract and then your player is not willing to restructure? Again, my knowledge of how the cap works is limited, so that might be a stupid question. But it seems a little short sighted to essentially take the "I will deal with it later" mentality, if my interpretation is correct.

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If I may....   I'm not trying to defend Polian here...    Only trying to suggest that the deals a team makes look OBVIOUSLY good or not so good years down the road when you've got the benefit of hindsight.

 

But, they never look so obviously good or bad as you're making them.   You're in the moment, trying to get another winning season, and you'll deal with the possible bad news when you have to sometime down the road.

 

I consider myself one of Grigson's biggest fans and supporters.   He's one of the reasons I've become a Colt's fan.

 

That said,  in the past week or so I've noticed that a year ago we gave Robert Mathis a 4-year, $36 Million dollar deal.   For a guy who was going into his 9th or 10th NFL season.     To me,  that's insanity.

 

$9 Mill per year for 4 years?!?     That deal looks OK after the first year of it.   But we still have 3 more years of this contract and Mathis is now into his 30's.    The odds of the Colt's getting their money's worth over the next 3 years are very small, IMO.

 

Very small. 

 

Perhaps FJC and Superman can chime in on this.   They appear to understand the in's and out's of the salary cap better than anyone here, and their expertise with football add up to good opinions to have on this matter.    I'd love to get some input.

 

To me,  the Mathis deal is a head-scratcher...    and here it is....

 

http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/indianapolis-colts/robert-mathis/

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Peyton Manning making $100 million ate up a good chunk of the cap.  While we will save money from other players being gone our biggest cap re-leaf is no longer having Peyton's contract on the books.  However, the reason you pay a guy that much money is that you count on him being able to cover up some of the other holes that are going to made by paying a guy that much money. 

 

Add in over paying for a guy like Hayden and then releasing him and releasing guys like Addai, Brackett, and Clark who had big contracts and you are in trouble with the cap.

 

Also Freeney's contract this year did not help but I don't think Polian ever planned on paying Freeney that sum this year.  I think Polian's plan was to re-do that contract into extension or releasing him before this season had Hughes developed.  The change in defenses and not knowing if Freeney would fit a 3/4 going forward or not kinda did in the extending him option and I don't think the Colts felt like they wanted to just give Freeney away so they were stuck with his contract for this year. 

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You got it just right Superman.

Keeping players that fit and are successful your system is Good Business.

Sanders stood out/made a lot of plays on generally bad defenses.

If there were more plays being made in front of him would he have been an MVP and becoming Highest Paid? No Way.

And that Big Contract Hurt us BAD with Bob not being able to earn it. A Bad circumstance.

Kelvin Hayden deal. I about Puked when I saw what this pretty DECENT Cover 2 CB got paid. He got what a tough press coverage CB was worth. And he did not come close to EARNING the Big $$$. Ugh!

Dallas Clark was a ONE Dimensional Couldn`t Block his shadow Peyton Manning made Pro Bowler.

He would have been above average and a probably more of a situational TE on more than half the Teams in the NFL.

Addai made one Pro Bowl based on his 1st ten games of the season. A decent runner, an Excellent pass Blocker and a good out of the backfield receiver for regular season $tat$ Manning. Paid him a little Extra for his Blocking at the end to appease $tat$.

Bracket was a Great Teammate and made some plays on generally mediocre to bad D`s. Paid him a little extra at the end to keep it going/ Irsay liking to do the right thing by an Honorable Colt.

We have seen this before with Franchises that had developed lots of talent and kept winning going for a long period. As these players have big success (and the team is competing at the highest level for many years) you pay Big up front Bonuses with back end loaded Contracts to keep YOUR talent together, but with Age it comes to an end. Gotta blow it up and start over.

Can`t think of another example but Belechik let Richard Seymour go for a 1st rounder rather than pay him Big $$$.

I always thought I would rather have Seymour than Freeney. A more complete player, tackling, pressureing the QB, blocking passes.

Freeney ALWAYS Killed us in the running game, so because of his big pay, I would have moved him for a 1st and more? a long time ago. We could have kept a Linebacker or TWO for his $$$ and drafted a more complete DE. Might have been worth another SB!!

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You are probably far more educated on the issue than I am. But with what you said in mind, about Polian making contracts to readdress them later on, is that a good move? What if you backload a contract and then your player is not willing to restructure? Again, my knowledge of how the cap works is limited, so that might be a stupid question. But it seems a little short sighted to essentially take the "I will deal with it later" mentality, if my interpretation is correct.

 

 

I agree completely that the "deal with it later" mentality is short sighted.  To me if your good at "cap management" you wont put yourself in situations like this.  I like the addict analogy. 

 

Yet I agree when your in the moment you have to make decisions, but costly decisions costs franchise as well.  You may hit a homerun for a year (if that), but in the end your paying through the nose.  Take for example the jets and Sanchez.  He is getting paid 9+mill.  Yet the guy is barely a back-up. 

 

Great thread BTW

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You are probably far more educated on the issue than I am. But with what you said in mind, about Polian making contracts to readdress them later on, is that a good move? What if you backload a contract and then your player is not willing to restructure? Again, my knowledge of how the cap works is limited, so that might be a stupid question. But it seems a little short sighted to essentially take the "I will deal with it later" mentality, if my interpretation is correct.

 

Depends on the nature of the contract. There are far too many variables to give that a straight answer. 

 

But take Freeney's contract, for instance. I believe -- and I'm no one special and don't have any access that means anything -- that Polian would have been addressing Freeney's contract if he were still here in 2012. If they called Freeney's agent and said "we want to rework Dwight's deal," and the agent said "get bent," the Colts could have traded or released Freeney, and freed up $14m from the 2012 cap. The player doesn't have to be willing to restructure in order for you to unload a burdensome contract. 

 

That might not be ideal, but I think it's better than paying $14m that you don't have to for a player that's probably walking out of the door in six months anyways. At least with a trade, you get an extra draft pick or something. And, generally speaking, when you tell a player you're going to give him some guaranteed money in exchange for his signature, and add a couple years to his contract, he's going to be receptive.

 

Some would refer to this strategy as a decision point: you know that you're going to do something about a contract before it expires, but the "when" and "what" are still not fully determined. In most instances, I think it's a sound strategy. Just because you sign a player for six years, $72m doesn't mean you have to pay him all that money. That's the nature of non-fully guaranteed contracts in the NFL, and everyone knows it. I don't think it's short-sighted at all.

 

The reason why Polian's teams found themselves up against the cap is two-fold: a) he was trying to maintain a championship caliber team, which meant minimizing turnover and adding talent in the long term, and b) he hit on a lot of his draft picks earlier in the decade. Guys like Freeney, Clark, Sanders, Wayne, Bethea, of course Manning, and so on, who earned second contracts, ate up a lot of the cap. That plays back into the first point: you're not looking to replace those guys because they're doing a good job for you, but you also have to pay them accordingly. This is the nature of the salary cap, and that's exactly what it's intended to do. I do think Polian could have been more creative in the way he structured contracts from time to time, but for the most part, I think he did a good job of managing the cap with such a top heavy roster.

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I agree completely that the "deal with it later" mentality is short sighted.  To me if your good at "cap management" you wont put yourself in situations like this.  I like the addict analogy. 

 

Yet I agree when your in the moment you have to make decisions, but costly decisions costs franchise as well.  You may hit a homerun for a year (if that), but in the end your paying through the nose.  Take for example the jets and Sanchez.  He is getting paid 9+mill.  Yet the guy is barely a back-up. 

 

Great thread BTW

 

Sanchez should never have gotten that extension, and that was obvious to everyone outside of the Jets organization the moment it happened. Compare that to Bob Sanders, who was extended after he helped us win a Super Bowl and then while he was in the middle of winning DPOY. He earned a second contract, maybe not "highest paid safety," but close, and fans would have revolted if we had allowed Sanders to walk.

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Sanchez should never have gotten that extension, and that was obvious to everyone outside of the Jets organization the moment it happened. Compare that to Bob Sanders, who was extended after he helped us win a Super Bowl and then while he was in the middle of winning DPOY. He earned a second contract, maybe not "highest paid safety," but close, and fans would have revolted if we had allowed Sanders to walk.

 

 

Polian was definately stuck in that situation. . . .All this talk of Sanders is sad for me. . . . .all the potential in the world, just couldn't stay on the field :giveup:

 

 

Didn't Polian make Peyton the highest paid player, even when Peyton had said no thanks?  Or was that just a dream to me? 

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You got it just right Superman.

Keeping players that fit and are successful your system is Good Business.

Sanders stood out/made a lot of plays on generally bad defenses.

If there were more plays being made in front of him would he have been an MVP and becoming Highest Paid? No Way.

And that Big Contract Hurt us BAD with Bob not being able to earn it. A Bad circumstance.

Kelvin Hayden deal. I about Puked when I saw what this pretty DECENT Cover 2 CB got paid. He got what a tough press coverage CB was worth. And he did not come close to EARNING the Big $$$. Ugh!

Dallas Clark was a ONE Dimensional Couldn`t Block his shadow Peyton Manning made Pro Bowler.

He would have been above average and a probably more of a situational TE on more than half the Teams in the NFL.

Addai made one Pro Bowl based on his 1st ten games of the season. A decent runner, an Excellent pass Blocker and a good out of the backfield receiver for regular season $tat$ Manning. Paid him a little Extra for his Blocking at the end to appease $tat$.

Bracket was a Great Teammate and made some plays on generally mediocre to bad D`s. Paid him a little extra at the end to keep it going/ Irsay liking to do the right thing by an Honorable Colt.

We have seen this before with Franchises that had developed lots of talent and kept winning going for a long period. As these players have big success (and the team is competing at the highest level for many years) you pay Big up front Bonuses with back end loaded Contracts to keep YOUR talent together, but with Age it comes to an end. Gotta blow it up and start over.

Can`t think of another example but Belechik let Richard Seymour go for a 1st rounder rather than pay him Big $$$.

I always thought I would rather have Seymour than Freeney. A more complete player, tackling, pressureing the QB, blocking passes.

Freeney ALWAYS Killed us in the running game, so because of his big pay, I would have moved him for a 1st and more? a long time ago. We could have kept a Linebacker or TWO for his $$$ and drafted a more complete DE. Might have been worth another SB!!

 

Bob Sanders contract NEVER hurt us on the cap. Not at any point. It hurt that he couldn't stay on the field, because we lost an asset, but we never were committed to a high amount of money for him. We released him at the perfect time.

 

The Kelvin Hayden deal was absurd, not because he wasn't a good player, but because a Cover 2 corner is replaceable, if you make it a priority to replace him. This is one of the instances where I never could jive with Polian's double-talk. He would say that he didn't put a premium on drafting corners because we played Cover 2 (even though Jackson was a first rounder and Hayden was a second rounder, but whatever), but then he gave a Cover 2 corner a $43m contract with $22m guaranteed? Something doesn't add up...

 

Clark was a good tight end, and deserved to be paid. 

 

Addai was a familiar face. I'm not going to go into your ridiculous dig at Manning.

 

Brackett's contract was made necessary because we drafted Donald Brown instead of James Laurinitis (142 tackles, two interceptions), but even then, we never wound up getting hurt financially by that contract. Until this year, that is, when the cap penalties were assessed. But the release was still the right way to go.

 

I disagree with your assessment of Freeney vs. Seymour; they are two different players, and Freeney is twice the pass rusher Seymour ever was. Either way, the Pats were smart to trade him when they did, and a first rounder isn't half bad for a 30 year old five-tech lineman.

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Polian was definately stuck in that situation. . . .All this talk of Sanders is sad for me. . . . .all the potential in the world, just couldn't stay on the field :giveup:

 

 

Didn't Polian make Peyton the highest paid player, even when Peyton had said no thanks?  Or was that just a dream to me? 

 

That credit must go to Irsay.

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Polian was definately stuck in that situation. . . .All this talk of Sanders is sad for me. . . . .all the potential in the world, just couldn't stay on the field :giveup:

 

 

Didn't Polian make Peyton the highest paid player, even when Peyton had said no thanks?  Or was that just a dream to me? 

Irsay wanted to make Peyton the highest paid player ever and Peyton said no but he didn't say no to the point of league minimum or anything either.  He took a smaller contract than he could have gotten but his contract was still huge.

 

As for Sanders I still remember saying at the time we need to just let Sanders walk and only re-sign Clark because of the Sanders injuries.  In retrospect the Sanders contract didn't hurt us that badly because we got out of it before it exploded and became huge.  It was a back loaded deal really and Sanders never saw the back end of it. 

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If I may....   I'm not trying to defend Polian here...    Only trying to suggest that the deals a team makes look OBVIOUSLY good or not so good years down the road when you've got the benefit of hindsight.

 

But, they never look so obviously good or bad as you're making them.   You're in the moment, trying to get another winning season, and you'll deal with the possible bad news when you have to sometime down the road.

 

I consider myself one of Grigson's biggest fans and supporters.   He's one of the reasons I've become a Colt's fan.

 

That said,  in the past week or so I've noticed that a year ago we gave Robert Mathis a 4-year, $36 Million dollar deal.   For a guy who was going into his 9th or 10th NFL season.     To me,  that's insanity.

 

$9 Mill per year for 4 years?!?     That deal looks OK after the first year of it.   But we still have 3 more years of this contract and Mathis is now into his 30's.    The odds of the Colt's getting their money's worth over the next 3 years are very small, IMO.

 

Very small. 

 

Perhaps FJC and Superman can chime in on this.   They appear to understand the in's and out's of the salary cap better than anyone here, and their expertise with football add up to good opinions to have on this matter.    I'd love to get some input.

 

To me,  the Mathis deal is a head-scratcher...    and here it is....

 

http://www.spotrac.com/nfl/indianapolis-colts/robert-mathis/

 

I think that was a hometown discount. Average value for a defensive end / pass rusher is about $10-12m a year, even at 30 years old. Julius Peppers got six years, $92m, at 30 years old. Mathis wouldn't have had nearly the demand Peppers would have had, but keep in mind that Peppers never really hit free agency because of the franchise tag, so we don't know what his real market value would have been. Might have been more like Mario Williams, six years, $100m.

 

Specific to Mathis' contract, there is no guaranteed money after Year 1, and a significant part of his yearly compensation is going to be his annual roster bonus. He got $17m in Year 1 ($15m signing bonus + $2m base salary), so that leaves less than $20m remaining to be paid, spread out over three years. If you think it was a good deal for Year 1, then this is how you set it up, and you keep flexibility to address this contract in the future if you either need cap space or the player is not living up to the contract. I think it's a very good deal for us, and maybe a bit less than he would have gotten on the open market. Thank goodness for the franchise tag.

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You are probably far more educated on the issue than I am. But with what you said in mind, about Polian making contracts to readdress them later on, is that a good move? What if you backload a contract and then your player is not willing to restructure? Again, my knowledge of how the cap works is limited, so that might be a stupid question. But it seems a little short sighted to essentially take the "I will deal with it later" mentality, if my interpretation is correct.
If

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The Colts are fortunate to be in the cap situation they are in 2013, and I think we will all be giddy watching the shopping this offseason, but they aren’t too far removed from walking down the same path Polian faced.  How Grigson handles it will be interesting.   Before this draft class hits in 2016, the Colts will face some interesting decisions. 

 

We have to assume at least one large FA will be signed in 2013.  Maybe two.  By large I mean top 10 money at the position.   What guaranteed money and if that (or those) are back loaded will be interesting.

 

Mathis has an increasing cap hit as his base goes to $4 million with a $3 million roster bonus next season, then goes down to $5 million in 2014, back to $7 million in 2015, FA in 2016.  Redding and Satele have escalating contracts – Satele goes from 700k this season to 3.9 mil in 2014, FA in 2015. 

 

Bethea is already the 8th highest paid S in terms of cap hit now, and is a FA in 2014.  Good safeties make money.  Vontae Davis is a FA in 2014.  Corners cost money.  Castonzo is a FA in 2015, and starting LTs make money.  And this doesn’t get into the players like Freeman (FA in 2015), who if he keeps knocking everything down that gets in front of him might price himself off the Colts. 

And obviously this rookie class nearly all comes due in 2016, and we all know what QBs make, not to mention WRs, TEs, and RBs.   And what does Luck make in 2016?  Will the Colts be right back where they were, where a handful of players take up the vast majority of cap space?  How they handle the FAs this offseason, then Davis, then Castonzo, may let us know how many of the class of 2012 get a second deal.

 

Getting to my point, the draft has to be the primary source for talent.  Especially when teams, like the Colts, possess an elite QB who will take up around one sixth or one seventh of the entire cap at some point. 

 

http://www.rotoworld.com/teams/contracts/nfl/ind/

http://www.spotrac.com/top-salaries/nfl/cap-hit/indianapolis-colts/

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I think that was a hometown discount. Average value for a defensive end / pass rusher is about $10-12m a year, even at 30 years old. Julius Peppers got six years, $92m, at 30 years old. Mathis wouldn't have had nearly the demand Peppers would have had, but keep in mind that Peppers never really hit free agency because of the franchise tag, so we don't know what his real market value would have been. Might have been more like Mario Williams, six years, $100m.

 

Specific to Mathis' contract, there is no guaranteed money after Year 1, and a significant part of his yearly compensation is going to be his annual roster bonus. He got $17m in Year 1 ($15m signing bonus + $2m base salary), so that leaves less than $20m remaining to be paid, spread out over three years. If you think it was a good deal for Year 1, then this is how you set it up, and you keep flexibility to address this contract in the future if you either need cap space or the player is not living up to the contract. I think it's a very good deal for us, and maybe a bit less than he would have gotten on the open market. Thank goodness for the franchise tag.

I think the other thing that hurts Mathis is that till this year he had never really done much when Freeney was out.  I think to an extent he was penalized as being the number "2" DE.  Not unlike a really good second WR on a team with a great WR.  Teams at times can be a little scared to give that second WR a big contract.  So that might have driven Mathis's price down a little. 

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The Colts are fortunate to be in the cap situation they are in 2013, and I think we will all be giddy watching the shopping this offseason, but they aren’t too far removed from walking down the same path Polian faced.  How Grigson handles it will be interesting.   Before this draft class hits in 2016, the Colts will face some interesting decisions. 

 

We have to assume at least one large FA will be signed in 2013.  Maybe two.  By large I mean top 10 money at the position.   What guaranteed money and if that (or those) are back loaded will be interesting.

 

Mathis has an increasing cap hit as his base goes to $4 million with a $3 million roster bonus next season, then goes down to $5 million in 2014, back to $7 million in 2015, FA in 2016.  Redding and Satele have escalating contracts – Satele goes from 700k this season to 3.9 mil in 2014, FA in 2015. 

 

Bethea is already the 8th highest paid S in terms of cap hit now, and is a FA in 2014.  Good safeties make money.  Vontae Davis is a FA in 2014.  Corners cost money.  Castonzo is a FA in 2015, and starting LTs make money.  And this doesn’t get into the players like Freeman (FA in 2015), who if he keeps knocking everything down that gets in front of him might price himself off the Colts. 

And obviously this rookie class nearly all comes due in 2016, and we all know what QBs make, not to mention WRs, TEs, and RBs.   And what does Luck make in 2016?  Will the Colts be right back where they were, where a handful of players take up the vast majority of cap space?  How they handle the FAs this offseason, then Davis, then Castonzo, may let us know how many of the class of 2012 get a second deal.

 

Getting to my point, the draft has to be the primary source for talent.  Especially when teams, like the Colts, possess an elite QB who will take up around one sixth or one seventh of the entire cap at some point. 

 

http://www.rotoworld.com/teams/contracts/nfl/ind/

http://www.spotrac.com/top-salaries/nfl/cap-hit/indianapolis-colts/

To an extent but the new TV contracts are supposed to kick in before Luck's contract is up and people expect that cap to go up a lot once that happens.  Now so will players contracts as well but that might help some till all the players under the old TV contracts contracts expire. 

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I think the other thing that hurts Mathis is that till this year he had never really done much when Freeney was out.  I think to an extent he was penalized as being the number "2" DE.  Not unlike a really good second WR on a team with a great WR.  Teams at times can be a little scared to give that second WR a big contract.  So that might have driven Mathis's price down a little. 

 

Very true, and likely had something to do with it.

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Supposedly Freeney said NO to renegotiating.

 

 I don't know what happened with this post, but I picked this part out of it. To that, I remember reading that the front office never even approached Freeney about an extension.

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 I don't know what happened with this post, but I picked this part out of it. To that, I remember reading that the front office never even approached Freeney about an extension.

I know you don't agree with it Superman but I don't think they ever wanted too.  I think they either wanted to move him if they could get a good trade back or just pay out his contract this year and see what he could do in a 3/4.  I think they were more comfortable with doing that knowing that if he didn't work out his contract would come off the books completely at years end than they were extending him and then having to release him down the road resulting in some kind of cap hit they wouldn't have needed to take even if it was a small one.  I also think they felt like if they had to tag him and get a deal done they could do that.

 

As it stands now I think the Colts will offer him a smaller contract than he gets now if anything and let him test the market.  I could see us tagging Pat this off-season though.

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Freeney did what was asked out of him to do up til this year extremely well, Personally I pass on the 1 dimensional pass rusher who can get you alot of sacks for a all around DE/OLB 

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I know you don't agree with it Superman but I don't think they ever wanted too.  I think they either wanted to move him if they could get a good trade back or just pay out his contract this year and see what he could do in a 3/4.  I think they were more comfortable with doing that knowing that if he didn't work out his contract would come off the books completely at years end than they were extending him and then having to release him down the road resulting in some kind of cap hit they wouldn't have needed to take even if it was a small one.  I also think they felt like if they had to tag him and get a deal done they could do that.

 

As it stands now I think the Colts will offer him a smaller contract than he gets now if anything and let him test the market.  I could see us tagging Pat this off-season though.

 

Oh yeah, that's painfully obvious now at this point. I still don't think that was the right way to handle it, but that's in the past. I was just refuting the idea that Freeney is the one who refused to entertain an extension.

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Bob Sanders contract NEVER hurt us on the cap. Not at any point. It hurt that he couldn't stay on the field, because we lost an asset, but we never were committed to a high amount of money for him. We released him at the perfect time.

 

The Kelvin Hayden deal was absurd, not because he wasn't a good player, but because a Cover 2 corner is replaceable, if you make it a priority to replace him. This is one of the instances where I never could jive with Polian's double-talk. He would say that he didn't put a premium on drafting corners because we played Cover 2 (even though Jackson was a first rounder and Hayden was a second rounder, but whatever), but then he gave a Cover 2 corner a $43m contract with $22m guaranteed? Something doesn't add up...

 

Clark was a good tight end, and deserved to be paid. 

 

Addai was a familiar face. I'm not going to go into your ridiculous dig at Manning.

 

Brackett's contract was made necessary because we drafted Donald Brown instead of James Laurinitis (142 tackles, two interceptions), but even then, we never wound up getting hurt financially by that contract. Until this year, that is, when the cap penalties were assessed. But the release was still the right way to go.

 

I disagree with your assessment of Freeney vs. Seymour; they are two different players, and Freeney is twice the pass rusher Seymour ever was. Either way, the Pats were smart to trade him when they did, and a first rounder isn't half bad for a 30 year old five-tech lineman.

 

 

the colts ended up paying almost every penny of sanders' contract and worse, having the cap hit over all those years that he didn't play.

 

clark was a GOOD te, not great like the contract he got.

 

i don't think any other team would have payed brackett anything close to what the colts did.

 

addai is another player that fits with the colts but not with other teams.

 

you don't have to pay top dollar to players that's only real value is to you (i believe hayden was in this category also). you aren't competing against any other teams. this is the only problem i had with bp.

 

i agree that freeney is a much better pass rusher, but that is it. the colts were in a really tough spot when his contract was up, but they should have cut or traded him this year or last he just wasn't worth the money or cap hit. if he plays next year it will be at a significant salary reduction.

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 I could see us tagging Pat this off-season though.

 

 

no way!

 

there is no way i would pay him 3 million a year!

 

he just got bumped from $530, 000 to $1,322, 000 this year. around $1.4 million/year is good enough. there isn't that much of a difference in punters. it won't kill the colts to have to replace him.

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the colts ended up paying almost every penny of sanders' contract and worse, having the cap hit over all those years that he didn't play.

 

No, they didn't. Sanders contract had $20m "guaranteed," and I don't believe he even made the $20m (guaranteed often isn't the right word).

 

Minor quibbles, both there and on a couple other points, but we overwhelmingly agree that those contracts didn't pan out the way we had all hoped. It's easy to judge in hindsight, though, especially when you're grading a contract on the "highest paid" criteria, which is mostly meaningless. Clark and Sanders were the highest paid at their positions for about fifteen minutes, and both were having a significant level of impact for our team at the time. I'm glad we kept both, and I wish they had worked out better for us long term, but those are the breaks.

 

It really wouldn't have been as big of a deal if we had drafted better.

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no way!

there is no way i would pay him 3 million a year!

he just got bumped from $530, 000 to $1,322, 000 this year. around $1.4 million/year is good enough. there isn't that much of a difference in punters. it won't kill the colts to have to replace him.

No it won't but aside from his punting I like what else he brings in terms of attitude. Plus he can actually tackle!

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I guess that is the going rate for a 'game wrecker'.  

 

We Franchise Tagged Mathis, and shortly after that deal was brokered.  It appears Mathis got his 17 mil up front, but cap hit was only 5,75 mill.  15 mil signing bonus was prorated over the life of contract, so there will be 3.75 million cap hit each year added to base salary and any misc bonus. ,All of the prorated signing bonus becomes due against the cap immediately if player is waived or traded, but other team is responsible for salaries. If player is cut before June 1st, all prorated signing bonus becomes due immediately, but salary isn't paid (if not guaranteed).  If cut after June 1st, the remaining prorated bonus money can be split over two seasons against the cap.

 

I think this right.  We were all over caps and situations late last year and early this considering all of the turnover and dead money we were going to face.   :)

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No, they didn't. Sanders contract had $20m "guaranteed," and I don't believe he even made the $20m (guaranteed often isn't the right word).

 

Minor quibbles, both there and on a couple other points, but we overwhelmingly agree that those contracts didn't pan out the way we had all hoped. It's easy to judge in hindsight, though, especially when you're grading a contract on the "highest paid" criteria, which is mostly meaningless. Clark and Sanders were the highest paid at their positions for about fifteen minutes, and both were having a significant level of impact for our team at the time. I'm glad we kept both, and I wish they had worked out better for us long term, but those are the breaks.

 

It really wouldn't have been as big of a deal if we had drafted better.

 

 

sanders signed a 5 year contract (37.5million 20 million guaranteed) in 2007. he was with the colts 4 of the 5 years. guaranteed money has to be payed, that's why it is called guaranteed. the only part of his contract that the colts didn't have to pay him was his last year of base salary, maybe 4 million. 

 

i didn't like the signings at the time they were done. clark, bracket, and addai have all proven to be easily replaced and sanders was hurt too much to give that kind of contract to.

 

when you are drafting at the bottom of drafts, it is VERY hard to replace top players like fans think their team should always do. the old two years later saying the gm sucks "we should have drafted xxxxxx". the colts draft record is pretty good, most teams would love to switch places with the colts.

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sanders signed a 5 year contract (37.5million 20 million guaranteed) in 2007. he was with the colts 4 of the 5 years. guaranteed money has to be payed, that's why it is called guaranteed. the only part of his contract that the colts didn't have to pay him was his last year of base salary, maybe 4 million. 

 

i didn't like the signings at the time they were done. clark, bracket, and addai have all proven to be easily replaced and sanders was hurt too much to give that kind of contract to.

 

when you are drafting at the bottom of drafts, it is VERY hard to replace top players like fans think their team should always do. the old two years later saying the gm sucks "we should have drafted xxxxxx". the colts draft record is pretty good, most teams would love to switch places with the colts.

 

I see a bit of a contradiction in this post, and I'm trying to understand the perspective - so forgive me.  So on the one hand you have issues with resigning existing players, and then close with it's very hard to draft in the late 20s and replace impact players.  This is the exact point to me - a GM has to balance those exact things.  It would be hard to deny both truths regarding a player like Sanders.  He had as large an impact on a game as any defensive player the Colts have had in years.  And, he had a history of injury.  In hindsight it is easy to say he didn't "earn" his last contract.  But no player is paid for future success, they are paid on past results with hopes of continued similar or improved results.  Anyway, if you dislked the signing of existing players, and also don't expect much draft success at later parts of rounds, then what is the solution? 

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Na'Polian was the KING of over paying players!

 

That's why we barely ever dabbled in free agency. We didn't have any money left over from the astronomical contracts we paid our own players.

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