As we look ahead into the Colts 2014 offseason, one of the key topics of conversation is going to be free agency and the potential 2014 final roster. The Colts are once again loaded with a wealth of cap space, but also have a plethora of needs to fill with 23 players becoming free agents this spring. The Colts needs and potential free agent signings are things that will be talked to death over the next two months, but one thing that can slide under the radar is how much the Colts can potentially free up by cutting individuals.
With the mixed bag that was the 2013 offseason (and by mixed, I mean a rancid mixture of feces and sour milk), readers have often asked me about the potential releases of numerous overpaid Colts in an effort to open up more cap space for a 2014 offseason that "fixes" (too harsh?) past contract mistakes.
So, with that in mind, here are the cap savings and dead money involved in every interesting player on the Colts roster for 2014 and beyond.
2014 Cap Hit: $5,066,667
Dead Money: $1,066,667
2014 Cap Savings: $4 million
The poster child for "Please cut me right now," Satele currently has the fifth-largest cap hit on the team in 2014, and is approximately the 134th-best player. Quite simply, if he's on the roster in 2014, I will cry.
These aren't "Peyton Manning is amazing and I miss him so much" kind of tears either. More like "OH GOD WHY IS BEN AFFLECK GOING TO BE BATMAN GOD WHY" kind of tears.
2014 Cap Hit: $4,833,333
Dead Money: $666,667
2014 Cap Savings: $4.17 million
Another strong candidate for a release, Toler was a huge disappointment in 2013, both when he was on the field (incredibly inconsistent/not very good) and due to the fact that he was injured for about 60 percent of the season. Toler was injury-prone in Arizona, and there's little reason to believe that he can stay healthy going forward. He can be cut with little harm to the cap.
On the flip side, Toler and Darius Butler are the only cornerbacks on the roster for 2014 (outside of Sheldon Price). The Colts are kind of stuck with him.
2014 Cap Hit: $2,252,708
2014 Cap Savings:
There's disappointments, and then there is Trent Richardson. To say he was didn't reach expectations in 2013 would be like saying Jar Jar Binks was a mild disappointment in Episode I. But, Richardson's contract is fully guaranteed. Cleveland ate Richardson's $13 million signing bonus, but the Colts are stuck with his base contract.
So, like him or hate him, odds are he'll be a Colt for the forseeable future.
Side Note: I'm not exactly sure why, but it seems like the Colts would only be responsible for the year that they cut him when it comes to dead money. So, if they cut him this season, they wouldn't have to eat next year's 3.2 million as well. Again, I don't know why, but this is what both Spotrac and Over The Cap both have. If you know the answer, I'd love to hear it. Regardless, he won't get cut.
Edit: Spotrac and OTC have edited their numbers to include the correct dead money totals.
Ricky Jean Francois
2014 Cap Hit: $5,125,000
Dead Money: $1,875,000
2014 Cap Savings: $3,250,000
Personally, I'm not a fan of paying Ricky Jean Francois one of the top 25 defensive end contracts in the NFL. I don't think he brings much other than slightly above average run defense. But, again, the Colts are kind of stuck. They don't have any other long-term starting options at defensive end.
He won't get cut. But there are the numbers.
2014 Cap Hit: $4,750,000
Dead Money: $5,250,000
2014 Cap Savings: -$500,000
LaRon Landry search results... how depressing: pic.twitter.com/3kuRjYerKw— Kyle J. Rodriguez (@ColtsAuth_Kyle) January 15, 2014
And next year he's a $6.25 million hit. With $3.5 dead money. Blech.
2014 Cap Hit: $4,250,000
Dead Money: $4,750,000
2014 Cap Savings: -$500,000
GOOD LORD ALMIGHTY IT'S LIKE A GRAVEYARD OF HAPPY FEELINGS OUT HERE.
But honestly, if you want to go ahead and nominate me for most depressing Colts writer of the year, I will understand.
Walden wasn't the worst starting linebacker in the league this season, so he kind of beat our expectations. But he was still, well, not good. Pro Football Focus ranked him 31st out of 42 3-4 outside linebackers. And he has the 20th-highest cap hit of any OLB in 2014 (3-4 or 4-3 defense).
Again, Walden wasn't the biggest liability in the world in 2013, but he's no bargain either. Not by a long shot. Unfortunately, there's no way to upgrade, at least not until next year, when he'll have a $4.25 million cap hit with just $500k in dead money.
I hope you are joking on the Ben Affleck thing. I don't even want to google it!!! I hate you Kyle!!!
I would rather spend some of the free agent money we have to eat Landry's contract and resign Bethea and somehow get Byrd on the field next to him.
Thinking back to the skeptical articles written when these guys were signed, I have to say #1 , hey, you guys are pretty sharp. Toler's injury history was not a mirage (as predicted). TRich is... TRich (as predicted). Walden, glad to say, was not as bad as feared. Not special, just not horrid (which was speculated). RJF's biggest asset, when signed, was supposed to be versatility on the DL in a 3-4 (any position if needed). Not sure we've reaped the rewards of that, but we may need that some day. Werner might make a leap in year 2 (or at least be healthy), which could plaster over a lot of cracks in the D. More pressure on QBs makes it easier for DBs to cover receivers. Grigson, please keep that in mind if that does happen next year, the DBs didn't suddenly get good (i.e. let's not extend them!). It was hard for him to go wrong with Luck as the first pick. Grigs also did a fine job with other draft picks, Fleener, Allen, TY, etc. But this surely will be the year when a GM earns his salary--no first rounder, a lot of needs, and a bit of cap room, but not too much, with that looming Luck extension a few years distant.
Both Sportrac and Overthecap have changed the dead money value for Trent Richardson to $5,436,770 if we cut him this year. That would equate to an increase to Richardson's cap hit of $3,184,272. If cutting him before was highly unlikely before, it's definitely not happening now. I still think given a improved interior of our o-line and a full off-season to properly learn the play book he could turn out ok.
To be fair to Grigson, while he might have overpaid Toler last season he seems to have structure his contract well for 2014 and 2015 if he's injuries flaired up again. We'll take a hit (666,666 in 2014, 333,333 in 2015) in dead cap space but it's nothing compared to savings we'd make if we cut him.
Walden's contract seems to be something similar and he gets relatively cheap to cut after next season. I'm presuming the idea was that we would draft a replacement and cut him loose after the two years.
Satele cannot be kept. Financially and ability-wise it would make no sense. None at all.
Grigson's overpaid for most of his free-agents last offseason but at least had the sense to front end a few of the contracts so we dont have a mess on out hands when trying to fit in $100M contract for Luck in a few years.
@Coltsfanwilson Thanks, Josh.
@ColtsAuth_Kyle great post. I think this off season will be depressing.
When factoring in the cap hit for Toler on/off the roster, don't you have to include the salary cost for the players we sign to the active roster for the 3/4th of the season that Toler spends unable to get onto the field due to injury?
Said another way: surely the Colts can find a reliable, healthy, solid-if-not-spectacular #2 CB for $4MM.
@mdunn919 You're telling me :(
@Nightwing Interesting note on Richardson. Glad to see that makes sense now.
@ColtsAuth_Kyle No problem. Nice write up. Hopefully they cut Satele - that's my immediate reaction.
Regardless of the latter, the former is probably true.
@sheddmatt be hopeful while you can tho!
@AJ_ Colts were super desperate, I think that really was it...
@Coltsfanwilson Same. I don't see how they can justify keeping him at all
@french_sebo also t-rich can still turn it around. Walden isnt as bad as we thought. All in all we'll be just fine! BELIEVE! :-)
@ColtsAuth_Kyle Me neither. I don't think there is any reason that could justify keeping him. Let's just hope it's as clear to the team...
@realnatewalton I believe but we need a few more piece.t rich talent is there somewhere u can't get that bad overnight. Hope he gets it back