Replacing Bill Polian, a legend in the NFL, an icon.
Tough challenge, firstly because it's been "his" team for 14 years, and i won't be easy making it "your" team.
First off; the HC dilemma:
Word on Twitter(and everywhere else) is that the players worked their butts off for Caldwell. Problem is, his game management leaves much to desire. However, I would do my best convincing him to be reassigned to his former job as a QB-coach, as P-Money and Caldwell has a great relationship.
I would look for a defensive HC, Jeff Fisher will be coveted by a lot of teams, and he might be gone by the time you're hired as GM. Bill Cowher is another option, as P-Money clearly is an established QB. The outside pick, could be Rob Ryan from the Cowboys.
Assuming Jeff Fisher is available, he would be my pick. He knows the team, the staff and his philosophy matches the roster. A change of scheme would be a nightmare, due to the player material.
He would have his hands free to get the coordinators he wants, but i think a person like Mike Murphy would be allowed to keep his job as DC. He impressed late in the season, and he has huge knowledge of the cover-2. He would be a great guy to have around, at least in a transition period, as Fisher's scheme is similar in many ways, but the small o-line will be new to him, and an experienced hand would be a good thing.
Clyde Christensen would be replaced. His playcalling this year has not been satisfactory. Problem is, he has strong ties to P-Money. I think i would be a little unorthodox. A name like Mike Martz, would be a nice addition in my opinion. Martz' pass heavy offense would match the skills of P-Money perfectly, and could become "the greatest show on turf" v2.0.
Second big decision; The Peyton Manning situation:
Actually, this is Jim Irsay's decision. I would keep him, this would be a great cornerstone on at team with a former DC as HC. P-Money can take care of the offense with Martz, and Fisher can start rebuilding the offense, making sure the next couple of seasons will be better than the one we just left. I truly think it's the right decision, and as Irsay have strong ties to him, i would be surprised if he leaves. Of course, this is assuming his health has been cleared by the medical staff. If he can't play 100%, he should be cut. Many propose a trade, but he has a 28 mil bonus march 8. so the decision has to be made before that, and the league doesn't allow trades until march 13. If he were to be cut or traded after march 8., it would be a cap suicide. "#Pleasepeytonplay"
Third big decision; The Draft and the #1 overall Pick:
I truly believe the right thing to do, is trading the pick to the highest bidder. According to Adam Schefter a trade would be worth 3 1st rounders and 2 2nd rounders. On top of that, the word on the street is that The Browns aren't sold on Colt McCoy, and could have luck on their radar. Again, this is Irsay's decision, but i believe it is the right choice.
Assuming this trade goes through, it would give us 2 1st rounders and two 2nd rounders this year. This would be a huge boost to Fisher's new defense, and replace some of the FA's on offense. I won't put any names up, I'm not that experienced in the scouting world.(although as The Colts GM, i actually should be)
next big decisions; Free Agency:
I won't make a huge deal of this, as a lot of it depends on the draft. No matter what, i would do my best to keep Robert Mathis an Pierre Garcon. Payers like Jeff Saturday, Anthony Gonzalez, and Reggie Wayne, would be evaluated and compared to drafted players, and may be retained if the price is right.
And then, your first season as the Colts GM would begin. If they did like i say, they'd probably go 0-16 but hey, this is just one amateur colts fans opinion.