While the focus of Wednesday’s press conference was obviously the end of Peyton Manning’s tenure with the Colts, owner Jim Irsay did offer some clues about other moves that might be coming down the pike for the franchise.
At the end of the press conference as Irsay mentioned the team’s salary cap situation while he was talking about the reasons why the team was parting ways with Manning. He said that even with Manning (and, presumably, Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon) gone from the team, the Colts would need to cut even more salary just to be able to sign their draft picks come April. Beyond that, he talked about a future short on the names that made the last decade-plus such a successful one in Indianapolis.
“As a franchise, where we are right now with the salary cap, where we are rebuilding, we’re definitely a few years away,” Irsay said.
We’ve already heard that Dwight Freeney and his $19 million-plus cap number could be headed out the door, but that might just be the tip of the iceberg. Tight end Dallas Clark and running back Joseph Addai are both coming off injury-plagued seasons and are set to make almost $7.5 million between them in 2012, which could make them candidates for the chopping block as the Colts begin moving in a different direction.
Safety Melvin Bullitt, who has played just six games over the last two seasons, is set to make $2.4 million in 2012 and $2.695 million in 2013. Linebacker Gary Brackett has more than $17 million coming his way over the next three years, but is coming off shoulder surgery that gave Pat Angerer a chance to show that he can do the job for less money.
There might not be much immediate movement since the Colts will have to weigh which moves to make before June 1st and which to make after to avoiding loading up the cap with too much dead money in either of the next two years. But there will be movement and, based on what Irsay said Wednesday, it will be significant.