Exciting times for the Colts! So much money...so many options. This Tuesday is going to be HUGE for us and will help us see what happens in the draft!
I'm hoping F/A goes something like this:
The Colt's O-Line was a mess last year. The guard position is a problem as Luck had no virtually no pocket to step into his throws as DEs pushed the edge in. Castonzo is staying put at Left Guard, Ben Iiljana should be healthy and can play either Right Tackle or Right Guard effectively, and AQ Shipley will hopefully be able to mature and take over starting Center duties from Satele. Justice and Link are quality back ups, but are not starting caliber linemen and should be replaced. This is the biggest need and should be addressed in Free Agency. We should be targeting young maulers to help establish our new West Coast Offense and preferably linemen that are used to a man to man scheme as opposed to zone blocking. ***Salary = estimate of what they will command per a year. I try to been generous in this as people can and do get over paid in F/A.
High Profile Options:
Vasquez - top 10 pass blocker, good run blocker. Very big and is used to man to man. Heavy set, but not that mobile. Plays Right Guard. Only 25. Expected salary - 5-8.
Levitre - best guard pass blocker in league, ok run blocker. A tad undersized, but is stout and very mobile for a guard. Not afraid to get up field for secondary blocks. No injury history/durable. Biggest knock on him is that he is in a zone blocking scheme. Can move around the line pretty easily. Age= 26. Salary: 6-8 million a year
Vollmer - One of the best tackles in the league, missed most of last season with back issues. He is a tad old at 29, but would be worth the money if he stays healthy. Salary: 6-9
Loadholt - This guy is an absolute mauler and is great at setting up the run(he's been doing it for AP). 27 years old. Salary: 5-7.
Andre Smith - Once deemed to be a bust, Smith has finally blossomed during is contract year in Cinnci. He is the youngest of the bunch at 26 but should command big money in the range of 7-9.
Long - Long is a big boy and has had a number of injury issues after being a #1 overall pick. At 27 years old Long can still turn around his career and be a dominant LT if he can stay injury free. But he wants a huge pay day around 11 a year and someone will give him in the range of 9-11.
I think we will sign either 1 guard or maybe 1 guard and 2 tackles. There's a chance of us signing both Vasquez and Levitre(which would be awesome) but I'm not sure how high the Colts are on Levitre since Vasquez looks to be a better fit. Long is pretty much stern no as he wants too much and has too many injury issues. I don't trust Smith since he has had one good season in a contract year and wants to get paid. If we grab a RT our best bet would be either Vollmer or Loadholt. I'm not sure how willing Ben would be to moving to LG if this scenario takes place.
We need 1 more decent receiver and really we need to start grooming someone to take over for Reggie soon. Hilton is great in the slot currently and could maybe move to the 2, but who then is going to fill in at the slot? Brazil? Whalen? I doubt it. There aren't very many F/As that intrigue me besides Denario Alexandria of the Chargers. But he has had injury issues and I think the Chargers may still try to retain him. Welker, Wallace, and Jennings either have age, attitude, or cost issues. We will probably draft a WR.
Lots of holes here! We need 1 CB opposite of Davis, 1 SS to replace Zibby, who is awful(a S will work too as Bethea can easily swap to SS), DE to replace Freeney, OLB. I believe that the Colts are still trying to retain Powers and maybe even Butler or Vaughn. I'm just not convinced they will be able to work out a good price for both parties.
Sean Smith -
Carry Williams -
Chris Clemons: 27 years old.
Got lazy here. Lol. I don't think we will get a F/A CB. I think we will resign Vaghn or Butler for cheap as insurance and draft a starter. For Safety, I think we will pick one off F/A unless Grigs is hellbent on drafting Elam(which I doubt even though he is good). Quin, Clemons, and Landry are all young/good enough upper middle talent at safety and would be a big upgrade over Zibby. Only CB I see Colts potentially getting is Carry Williams.
Paul Kruger - He has had one good half season, albeit it led his team to a SB victory. I know he is a good fit but he wants way too much money. Anything over 8 million and you have to pass.
Connor Barwin - He had an off year, is going to be released and could be signed for us for a much better price than kruger. My guess is he will get around 5 mil.
I think we will get Kruger. It pains me to say it as I think he will demand too much money. Pagano loves him. He fits are system. He just had an amazing year, etc. I credit a lot of his success to a guy named Terrel Suggs. He's a prime candidate to get overpaid. But we will probably get him.
One semi-realistic scenario:
OL: sign Levitre and Vasquez giving us: Castonzo, Levitre, AQ, Vasquez, Ben - So much better than last year. Signing two top guards will cost: 12-15 mil.
DE: Sign Barwin for 5 mil
S: Sign Quin or Landry for 4-5 mil
Pretty much the rest goes to resigning our own F/As and acquiring lesser known backups/fill ins(we have already franchised Pat 3 mil, and tendered some O-Line men which I think were Reitz and Link, resigned Moala). It goes fast. We may be able to sign ONE more decent F/A in the 4-5 range depending on how other contracts go.
Let Powers walk, Resign Butler or Vaughn for small contract.
In draft target CB or WR in first round. Personally I want Xavier Rhoades, but I doubt he falls to us. It is a good draft class for us. We will get someone that we need this year or we might even trade down.