The picture above is an example of the kind of contributors that have played on this team, and each of them is no longer on the team for a number of different reasons. Marvin Harrison suffered a knee-injury in week four of the 2007 season against Denver, and never fully recovered from that injury. Harrison's age, slow healing process, and inability to fully regain his speed and agility led the Colts to release prior to the 2009 season.
Darrell Reid was one of the team's best special teams coverage players, serviceable depth at defensive tackle, and a situational defensive end, particularly in goal-line situations. His development made him too costly for the team to retain purely in a special teams role so he was allowed to enter free agency and landed with the Broncos.
Roy Hall was a 2007 draft pick who was retained for development as a wide receiver and immediate special teams contributor. A series of injuries derailed his development and landed him on the injured reserve each of his three seasons with the team.
The Colts have had to overcome the loss of players like Harrison, Reid, Jake Scott, Tarik Glenn, David Thornton, Brandon Stokely, and Edgerrin James. Of course, they have been lucky to find players who served as serviceable replacements like Pierre Garçon, Austin Collie, Anthony Gonzalez, Clint Session, Charlie Johnson, Kyle DeVan, and Joseph Addai. The Colts have been able to handle many of these transitions in stride because each of them came over a number of years.
At the end of the 2010 season, however, the Colts may be in store for the biggest transition they have had to overcome yet. Joseph Addai, Charlie Johnson, Clint Session, Melvin Bullitt, Daniel Muir, Antonio Johnson, Kyle DeVan, and Eric Foster will all need to be re-signed or sign contract extensions in order to stay on the roster in 2011. Those eight players are either starters or regular contributors for the offense and defense of the Colts.
Added to this potential transition and the financial complications that will need to be overcome to retain these players, the Colts have just lost Raheem Brock, are working on a long-term contract for Antoine Bethea, just signed Gary Brackett to a new contract, and will likely make Peyton Manning the highest paid quarterback in the NFL sometime this summer.
Despite the fact that the Colts are a small-market team, it may be in the team's short-term interest for the CBA to remain unresolved and the NFL to remain uncapped. If there is a cap, the Colts may need more short-term development from young players than the team has ever overcome in the past.
Will 2010 be the last year the Colts have promise to retain a streak of 12 win seasons?