As was reported yesterday Kelvin Hayden is in the fold. This will help make him almost a lock for the Classic Colts, as he’ll pass the 5 year threshold, and we will certainly honor him for his game sealing pick and return in XLI. As for right now, what is the impact of this deal on 2009?
1. Signing Hayden became a necessity the minute Marlin Jackson blew out his knee. We all know that corners are not at a premium in the Cover-2, but Hayden has shown that he is a special player with a knack for key interceptions (don’t forget he had one in the playoffs in 07 as well). If the Colts entered 2009 with Ratliff and Jennings as the only 100% sound corners on the roster, trouble would certainly lie ahead. Locking up Hayden ensures the secondary will have a chance to be strong. If Jackson can return healthy, it’s a Super Bowl quality secondary. If not, someone will have to step up and assume the #2 role (Hughes, Ratliff and Jennings will battle it out). This isn’t a move that can’t really be questioned or second guessed. It’s the absolute right play. Obviously, something terrible could happen in the future to make the deal look bad, but given the facts as of today, this is a great signing.
2. This move leaves the door open for Harrison or Saturday to return. By avoiding the franchise tag, the Colts keep a little extra money under the cap. I don’t know that the math works to keep both players, but obviously the franchise tag would still be open for Saturday. I think the pressure is on to rework Harrison. Again, cutting him is cheaper than keeping him, but restructuring him would be cheaper cap-wise than both. Adam Schefler of the NFL network was saying Marvin would have to go to make room for Hayden, but if you read the report he doesn’t say he has any information to that effect. It’s a speculative move based on the nature of the cap. There is no actual report that the Colts are going to cut 88. As for Saturday, it’s one of the toughest calls the Colts front office has faced in years. Can they afford to shell out big money to an aging center coming of a seriously injury plagued season when they just drafted 4 centers? Can they afford to cut out the heart of the offense, and a player who was productive when on the field? It’s hard to know just when to let a special player walk, but while I won’t argue with it if they find a way to bring Saturday back, I think the smart move is to let him go.
3. The ‘real money’ implications of this deal are fascinating. Hayden is getting $29 million in the first three years. This means that Jimmy Irsay still has liquid funds to use, and employed them emphatically on behalf of the team. In the current climate, that’s a major statement. He’s clearly not ducking into the economic ‘bomb shelter’ just yet. Considering how much jack the people of Indiana put into his new digs…it’s the least he can do.
A look at the best backs in history. Thanks to Stan.
Jr. is heading back to Seattle. I wish him the best.
Stampede Blue has a nice list of links right now. Why copy it?
Wait…this is real? It reads like an episode of 30 Rock.
MJax clears his name and gets some jack. Good for him.