3) Convince defensive end Dwight Freeney to sign an extension. You have to drive down his $19 million-plus cap hit and his $14 million-plus base salary for 2012. But cutting him would be awfully painful, especially if Mathis is getting to free agency. If Freeney has to go because of cost, then Mathis has to be tagged and Wayne is likely lost.
4) Look for cost savings with these players: Tight end Dallas Clark ($7.32 million cap hit, $4.53 million base), middle linebacker Gary Brackett ($7.4 million cap hit, $5 million base), running back Joseph Addai ($4.3 million cap hit, $2.9 million base), and safety Melvin Bullitt ($3.7 million cap hit, $2.4 million base). Brackett and Bullitt are now injury prone and I don't know if you can count on them. But just cutting them won’t necessarily save money as accelerated bonus cost could produce a cost approaching their scheduled cap numbers. Same with Addai, who may not fit with a new run philosophy.
He also suggests letting Pierre Garçon, Ryan Diem, Mike Pollak and Phillip Wheeler walk, giving Jeff Saturday a one-year deal and franchising either Robert Mathis or Reggie Wayne. He says to keep Orlovsky, Tamme and Gonzalez on cheap contracts.
And the big one of course is graciously thanking Peyton Manning for his time and then releasing him.
Let's evaluate the plan for a second. You'd have a rookie QB backed up by a guy who can't get any worse and may just be able to keep you in a few games. They would be throwing to Reggie Wayne, Austin Collie, Jacob Tamme, Anthony Gonzalez and possibly Dallas Clark if he takes a pay cut. The RBs would be Donald Brown and Joe Addai if he takes a pay cut along with a player to be named later. Saturday, Anthony Castonzo and Ben Ijilana would need some help along the line but the roster has a few guys and the Colts can find a few. Not a bad offense in reality.
Defensively your hybrid 3-4 would include a restructured Freeney and Robert Mathis along with Pat Angerer as linebackers most likely. Antoine Bethea is returning along with a host of role players. The secondary needs the most help along with the acquisition of a real nose tackle and some additional pass rushing.
In all, Kuharsky's plan would give the Colts a relatively healthy outlook if they can draft well, find a few key free agents and get some concessions on existing contracts.
The biggest caveat to this plan is that if Manning is gone and Free's cap hit is lessened by stretching it through an extension, we can hit free agency harder than we usually do and fill some holes. Or keep some of our own free agents we expect to lose. Kuharsky doesnt go into detail of how he would use that extra cap room so there are free agent moves he could make that he doesnt go into here.
He says to try and reduce the cap hit of Brackett and Bullitt. That is usually done by extending their contracts. I would not do this with their injury risk. If they will take one year renegotiated contracts, fine but if not, eat the dead money this year and open up the cap for next offseason. Ditto for Addai. Team should have a honeymoon period of at least one season before fans reapply pressure to win or even show improvement immediately. So use this year to clean up dead money and bad contracts and target next years off season
I don't disagree with this plan so much as I don't understand the point-- "The colts need to clear up cap space by cutting bad players and restructuring deals with the good ones" isn't really all that great of a plan-- in fact, its pretty obvious.
I disagree with so much of this that its not even worth listing each point. I will say that the line "Not a bad offense in reality", made me lagitimately laugh pretty hard.
About Garcon...were his drops as plentiful this past year as they'd been in previous? It seems like they weren't, but maybe the ball just didn't get to him as much, I don't know. For that matter, is there precedent for that kind of improvement--a player who tended to drop passes, but then developed into more reliability as he went along? Or is dropping the ball a lot just one of those things you either do or don't, and that's who you are? Anyone know or ever seen anything about that?
I agree with this with one huge exception - if Peyton Manning can play, then Irsay and Grigson should do everything they can to make sure it is in a Colts' uniform. I just don't see how it makes any sense to dump the greatest QB of all time to make room for an untried rookie. I know the media scouts are raving about him being the next Peyton Manning or John Elway, but they say that about someone in most drafts. He's more likely to be the next Eli Manning or Drew Bledsoe, or even the next Tim Couch or David Carr. If Peyton can't play, then we need to move on and hope Luck lives up to his billing. But if Peyton can play, it should be here.
@18to88 I'd really like to find out if Gonzalez can still be a solid receiver. I think his point about signing him inexpensively was good.
1 Interesting that he doesnt include any worry about Clark being injured two years in a row.
2 If you extend Free, you need to commit to scheming to fit his talents.
I like where his head is at. Seems like a solid plan. Complicated, but solid. RT @18to88 If Kuharsky ran the Colts http://t.co/SpBwhFy0
This offense would be near the bottom of the NFL. Maybe the Colts expect the defense to keep them in games?
@HoosierInaBox An offense like that would be middling, so by definition it wouldn't be bad.
@TonyFishers Young players with speed tend to try and make a play before they make the catch. Which leads to alot of drops early in their career. Garcon matured alot this year. In a year when the receivers could have shown their worth, hes really the only one that stood out. I cant understand the logic of keeping Wayne over him at this point.
@Kyle Rodriguez Any part in particular?
@ECB I can't see how that happens at this point. Peyton was just nowhere near where he needed to be by the end of the season. He's already hit a "plateau" once in his recovery, that's why he needed more surgery. The Colts simply can not risk that happening again, not with the kind of money that's at stake.
It's a huge gamble either way but at this point I'm thinking Luck actually looks like the slightly safer choice, as well as having greater upside, even though I wish it weren't so.
@19>18 Brackett has been fairly nicked up the last 3-4 years. Bullitt had a type of injury that's typically chronic. Clark had mixed injuries that aren't related.
@19>18 He also didn't say how he'd deal with Clark's contract. Cutting Clark makes the most sense at this point. I wish it weren't true but I think they'd save around $4.5M on the cap if they cut him. That's no laughing matter.
@southdodger What would it look like without Saturday, Tamme, Gonzalez, and Wayne to go with Garçon and Diem?
At this point the only significant losses in Kuharsky's plan offensively would be Pierre and Dallas Clark.
@squirrel I agree that the $28 million probably should not be paid unless the Colts are solidly convinced that Peyton will make a full recovery. But as long as the questions linger, no one else is going to give him $28 million either. Any contract that Peyton signs anywhere is going to reflect the reality that no one really knows whether or how well he will be able to play. So given the risk level, the Colts should match whatever other teams are willing to offer. The only way Peyton should be playing somewhere else is if either (a) he doesn't want to play here (which I doubt very much); or (b) the Colts' view of his prognosis is far more negative than that of other teams.
@18to88 I meant complicated with all the re-structuring (Clark, Brackett) etc. and all the other FAs taking short-term deals.
I didn't think he was that bad. Was better than the other QB option. RT @HMATTHIAS Agreed with all but number 7. Orlovsky was brutally bad.
@HMATTHIAS @Schultz1260 Right about the riot! I've said that keeping Dan makes sense. Painter makes no sense though. Need QBs badly.
@Schultz1260 If Orlofsky somehow takes the field, and Manning is playing somewhere else, there will be a riot.