There are three things in life that you cannot ever change my mind about: God exists, "Wonderful Tonight" is the best song ever written, and Mel Gibson's speech in Braveheart is the best movie speech of all time.
These are non-negotiable.
The Braveheart speech has a message for us as Colts fans. "Run, and you may live...for awhile. And dying in your beds many years from now, would you be willing to trade all the days, from this day to that, for one chance, just one chance to come back and tell our enemies, that they can take our lives, but they can never take our freedom!"
Would you be willing to trade it all? It's a fact of life that the Colts will not remain elite forever. We will have years in our future where we are bottom dwellers again. Would you be willing for that day to come sooner, just for the chance at glory?
The chance at glory is always worth it.
A lot about Manning's health is still in question, but now more than ever it is time for fans of the Indianapolis Colts to stand behind our Quarterback, to stand for loyalty and legacy over longterm competitiveness and financial security. The legacy of Manning is too precious to give up. With 1 or 2 more Super Bowls, Manning goes down as the unquestioned best of all time. With 3-4 more years of playing, Manning could secure the several records. Most importantly, Manning's career can be completed with the type of celebration that rarely happens in sports.
But Can We Make A Run At It?
The simple answer is yes, but it requires vision, passion, and absolute dedication on the part of the Colts front office and coaching staff. The first step is making the pitch to our crucial veterans. Freeney needs to restructure, and the single best way to get him to do so is to pitch the selfless team taking a run at the next four years. Give him a fifth year that is huge and crazy, but make his first four years small, insultingly small even. Get Mathis to do the same. Even in the 3-4, the most important thing we need is guys who can rush the passer, and these two clearly can. Dallas Clark needs to be let go. Wayne and Garcon both need to be resigned on the selfless contract role. Brackett is released; as is Melvin Bullett.
The draft is clearly crucial, and the most important thing is to create a bidding frenzy on the first pick. Get yourself a first round pick, second round pick, and third round pick for the next two years, plus a cheap, raw talent at 1-2 positions. Use your two first round picks on the crucial needs of the team--Cornerback being most central as we move away from the Tampa-2. The other option is to go after D. Poe and have our NT situation in place from day 1. Using second round picks to fill out the offense (WR and OL should be addressed), you spend the rest of the draft finding defensive players with potential to fill one or many roles and play special teams.
Free agency, in the go for broke, means we fill out our defense with key guys who can play 3-4. Carlos Rogers, Cortland Finnegan, Anthony Spencer, Jarrett Johnson, and Jason Jones (if they become available), should all be looked at seriously. A D heavy on backloaded contracts that kill our future should be able to build a present that is both impressive and extremely helpful as Manning ages.
The bottom line, not everything is about logic. Sports are about glory, daring, and greatness. The thought of abandoning a chance to cheer through one more Manning Super Bowl run should shame all of us. Manning may never be Manning again, but the risk is more than worth the reward.
I will take the shot at glory every time.
i think this is a bad post. i couldnt even get through it all. (ok i went back and made myself read it)
1) the braveheart speech tells us to ditch manning and take luck. it might be hard but it will give us a better future. braveheart would never pin his hopes on a old, broken down qb that will never be healthy enough to play again
2) what glory is in it for the colts when manning cant suit up? then they just wasted 4 years because he will kill their cap situation.
3) clark is a good player and you barely save anything by cutting him this year. cutting him is pretty stupid. cutting brackett is completely stupid as it only saves you 200 grand and linebacker depth isnt that great in indy.
4) your free agents are not realistic
5) basically you are acting like this is madden. it isnt. this is the real world. your fantasy world isnt logical
The best movie speech of all time? Clearly you haven't heard Mikey's speech at the bottom of the Moss Garden wishing well in The Goonies. Clearly.
In all seriousness, I like your post. The only problem I see is that it requires a ton of players to sacrifice money for the chance at making a run. There's no guarantee they'll win another Super Bowl. There's no guarantee none of them get severely injured and have to retire early. There's no guarantee that Manning will be the same as he was in years past. The only guarantee they have is the money that is written into their contracts, and if modern professional football is consistent in any way it's that players will sacrifice being on a good team in order to get paid more money.
The Braveheart speech is pretty epic, I gotta admit. But this in't a movie.
First, your plan assumes that Manning is healthy enough to play. That's not a given at this point, but it's possible, so we'll assume he is. Your proposal is still essentially impossible.
* Expecting Freeney, Mathis, Wayne and Garcon to all re-sign "selfless" contracts is unlikely, and honestly insulting. They've all worked hard to get where they are, and have earned the right to make their money. For all of them but Garcon, this will likely be their last shot at a big contract. Why would they give it up? Especially if Peyton isn't renegotiating his contract to take a lower salary?
* While contracts can be backloaded, they can't be backloaded quite as heavily as you seem to want them to be. NFL contracts can do a max raise of 30% over the previous year's salary, so you can't put it all on the back end. As well, if players see a contract that backloaded, they'll realize they'll get cut before the big payday. The only way to get a player to sign a contract like that is to give him a competitive signing bonus (since the player gets that up front). And signing bonuses have their cap hits spread evenly over the life of the contract -- they can't be backloaded.
* Cutting Clark, Brackett and Bullitt save the team some money, but very little cap room next year. It definitely clears some room for 2013 and beyond, but not much for 2012.
* Given how tight we are against the cap right now, having Freeney restructure would (at best) give us the money to re-sign our own players (Wayne, Mathis, Garcon). There's simply no cap room to chase any of the free agents you listed, and none of them are going to have any reason to give us a discount or take a backloaded contract (they have no ties -- ergo no loyalty -- to Indy).
* and, to top it all off, you'd trade the No. 1 pick for a passel of other picks and bring in a boatload of young talent. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But with the way you'd backloaded everything else, we 'd be cutting veterans left and right after 3-4 years, throwing the salary cap into utter chaos. Not only would we lose all those veterans, but we'd be unable to re-sign or forced to cut all those young guys the team drafted. The team wouldn't just be rebuilding; it would be entirely gutted, setting the franchise back years!
I understand the desire to see one last run w/Manning. I wish the team was in a position to load up and make it happen. But they're not.
@Neven Well done dude.. I disagree with overall point of what you said in that the Colts aren't in a position to make one more run. I still hit like because you are so spot on in your individual points. I do believe they could pull it off. The only player that would be nearly impossible to bring back is Wayne. The rest of them could be retained although you hit the nail on the head, the contracts certainly couldn't be insultingly low. Really there are only two thngs I'de like to point out. The first is that I think if Irsay would have been willing to continue to "sellout" for Peyton there would have been a very good chance Peyton would rework his deal. Paying the 28 mil is the comitment to Manning. They could easily rework the deal after that point. This is something that could have been discussed before heads started to roll. Lets be honest, Irsay had made up his mind on Manning before he fired Polian. He knew where this was heading all along. The second point is simple. In a couple years the cap in going to go up, fairly drastically if I remember right. I'd have to look up the exact numbers, but I remember the increase being significant. That's just something you didn't mention that would play a significant factor in the ability to pull this off. The Colts didn't need a complete overhaul with Peyton on the roster. I'd only really be asking to keep our own, which we've always figured out, and bring in the extra draft picks that Luck would yield. I don't think hitting the free agent market is a necessity and it wouldn't be possible this year. Moving forward yes, but not thi year. I guess that's where I disagree with what you said, otherwise what you said as far as the details go was spot on.
@Neven First, I am not suggesting this only if Manning is healthy. I am suggesting going this direction with full knowledge that he may never be any better than 70%. I believe he is worth that.
Secondly, I truly believe it is more possible than you are suggesting, especially considering we have been pulling this type of cap management for six years already. The Colts fielded a very competitive team with a large Harrison contract after he was cut. Let me give a few reasons:
Freeney has no real choice but to restructure if he wants to stay in Indy. His number against the cap if we cut him will only be $5 million of that 19 million, and no other team is going to pay him more than 10-12 million to play next year. Restructuring him to that level (and starting him at about 9 million and working up to 15 in a four year deal would save us nearly 10 million dollars for next season.
Second, releasing those players (Bracket, Bullitt, Clark) at the same time that Manning's contract would actually begin to hurt us if we kept him and he was unhealthy. Manning's number against the cap next year is only 1 million less than if we keep him. The choice to keep Manning or release him is not about his contract this year.
Also, if we release those three, plus Jerry Hughes, we save about 4 million dollars against the cap. That means that we will have about 14 million to sign any of these people. If we release Manning, we will have 15 million to sign them.
If we don't resign Manning, we still can't resign all these guys, and have to fill our roster with either: cheaper, less talented Free Agents at each position, possibly locking us into 2-3 year deals on many of them, or undrafted free agents. The team will suck, lose another year, and then have to figure out how to rebuild entirely the next year, still have to either resign or replace Freeney, deal with a much larger second year of a Garcon deal (and Luck deal...the team will still be sitting in murky waters financially, and by the time Luck matures and the team is built, we are right back up against the cap.
Bottom line: great teams are always against the cap.
great job dealing with the reality. I would only add that Poe, from all the experts I read, is considered to need a LOT of "coaching up" before he can contribute so we might need to look at a lower ceiling guy who is more NFL ready or prioritize a free agent backup at NT.
It's a damned shame because it seems like we could have both. With creative restructuring Irsay could save face, we could be competitive next year, we could grab Andrew Luck (or RGIII) and build for the future. Manning gives you that chance to make the playoffs no matter how badly the rebuilding is going. And, he wants to play for Indy, dang it!
Of course, this is all incumbent on him being healthy. If he's healthy and we release him, my feelings for Irsay will tank. I've thought his tweeting was entertaining because he seemed like a good guy who wanted to make the right decision for fans. But if he let's go a perfectly good Manning, who goes out and stomps us for 3 - 4 (or more) years, my thought will be "what an idiot".
Irsay made up his mind long ago. It had less to do with Peyton's health than most are willing to admit and everything to do with Andrew Luck. If the Colts went 6-10 the situation would be drastically different. It will be interesting to see moving forward who is the really the best QB in the 2012 draft. Irsay seems to think it's Luck or nobody. I think there are other options that should be explored but they won't be. That much is clear. I believe this same group could be brought back and have a legitamate chance at another SB but the point is moo cause there is no going back from here. Irsay dodged a bullet in 98 by drafting Peyton so he couldnt kick the Colts ass for the next 15 years. I guess getting your ass kicked for 3-4 years is easier to swallow.
@Peyton for President i think you are pretty clueless when it comes to mannings health
@omahacolt I think you are pretty clueless when it comes to anything requiring normal brain function.
I think you're right that Irsay made up his mind a long time ago. I think you're wrong in saying it has less to do with Peyton's health. If Peyton comes out close to being healthy by the deadline, I believe what Irsay's been saying all along, he will keep Peyton AND draft Luck. @Peyton for President