With the Superbowl wrapped up and the 2012-13 season now in the books, it's time to look ahead to the future, and in particular, free agency. The $46m figure has been thrown around regarding the Colts' cap space, and as such it's bound to be an exciting time to be a Colts fan. I'd argue that our current position allows us the freedom to aggressively pursue free agents and players we desire to an unprecedented extent when historically assessing the league.
(AP Photo – MIchael Conroy)
When the rookie wage scale was introduced, the most obvious benefits were to provide a greater pool of money for veterans who deserved it given cap limitations – no more 6 year, $80m deals in the style of Sam Bradford in 2009 – the #1 overall pick has been limited to $22m over 4 years, or something thereabouts.
Combine the new salary parameters with the uniquely prodigious talent of Luck, and I'd argue that the Colts are in completely uncharted territory when it comes to the upcoming three year period.
Put it like this – no other team has had this amount of cap space with a quarterback this talented, at a bargain basement price. He will remain a bargain for the next three years guaranteed – you can't modify rookie contracts, as agreed in the CBA.
As a result of this, I want to see Ryan Grigson amidst a whirlwind of activity, showing aggressiveness the likes of which we haven’t encountered from the Colts in recent years. Moves like Darrelle Revis can be considered through the filter of a three year window – provided the contracts we do move forward with are negotiated appropriately when it comes to duration, allowing us the flexibility to re-sign or franchise Luck when the time comes.
Ed Reed for a year – two at a stretch – on a big contract? I don’t see why not. This team needs more veteran leadership and experience – particularly on defense – and we should be willing to spend to the cap to make it happen. Jim Irsay has never had any issue opening the chequebook in the past, and I’d expect that to continue. Combined with Grigson’s seeming aggressiveness in the draft and willingness to move around to acquire talent… there’s unlimited potential for improvement.
With Luck at the helm alongside the coaching staff and veteran leadership currently on board, we can’t fail to have some measure of success when looking at the AFC picture as a whole. Our draft picks aren’t going to be in the Top 10, and shouldn’t hold the treasured status that they may have done prior to our massive improvement last year.
The worst thing for any franchise is to be locked into mediocrity at the quarterback position – because it tends to be rather expensive and has repercussions on the rest of the football team. It seems an appropriate topic given that I have the Superbowl on replay in the background – Joe Flacco is the very embodiment of this problem. He'll now demand $20m a year despite his faults and complete inconsistency in the regular season, likely limiting the Ravens franchise for the medium-term future. Steve Bisciotti knows that he has to pay the cost, even if it loses the team a pair of crucial contributors.
A more drastic example would be Mark Sanchez, need I elaborate. We certainly don't have that problem, and I don't think we're likely to for the next decade. So let's take advantage – we have a quarterback on $5m a year for the next three years who’s already close to breaking into the upper echelon at his position. We should be looking to go all-out in free agency and the draft, while also weighing the consideration of moving draft picks to acquire talent.
With an eye on the next fortnight, I'll be looking to write up All-22 breakdowns on three big WR free agents – Dwayne Bowe, Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace. If I could gather any sort of opinion regarding whom we should be targeting, I'll order them appropriately. The same goes for suggestions regarding other potential targets.