According to NFL.com reporter Albert Breer, NFL owners and executives were recently given the projected salary cap number for the 2015 season, which is $138.6MM. This marks a $5.6MM increase from this season’s salary cap amount of $133M. Even though it was on the low end of the projected increase, it still is a fairly significant increase all things considered:
Currently, the Indianapolis Colts have around $123MM of committed salary, with about $8MM of free cap space (with adjustments factoring in). After this year, they are set to have some significant salaries coming off the books in free agents: Reggie Wayne ($6.2MM), Cory Redding ($4.4MM), Hakeem Nicks ($3.97MM), Matt Hasselbeck ($3.75MM), and Darius Butler ($3.0MM). That’s a total cap hit of potentially $21.32MM coming off the books in itself, which means more money to potentially play with.
Oct 9, 2014; Houston, TX, USA; Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton (13) celebrates with quarterback Andrew Luck (12) after scoring a touchdown during the third quarter against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Just looking over the math, it looks like the Indianapolis Colts will have quite a bit of change to work with in their pockets if they so choose. While there’s still a 2015 draft class to consider and the retention of several key players, it’s reasonable that they could be looking at as much as $20-25MM of cap space.
The only problem is, they have several young cornerstones to lock up, who are free agents after the 2015 season. Specifically, there’s a looming mega-extension for QB Andrew Luck that will make him the highest paid quarterback in NFL history. There’s also pricey extensions to consider for young playmakers like T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen, and Coby Fleener.
Colts’ GM Ryan Grigson has to ensure that there’s enough room in his piggy bank to keep his young talent in Indianapolis long-term and can’t afford to saddle his salary cap up with too many other significant multi-year contracts.
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While the Colts could elect to simply pick up Andrew Luck’s team-option for 2016 of $16.12MM, a relative bargain, the franchise may elect to simply hammer out a long-term extension, rather than delay the inevitable and risk exasperating their franchise player.
Nevertheless, the $5.6MM increase certainly gives the Colts more breathing move, and it could mean the addition of another key piece or two to help GM Ryan Grigson improve the roster and better compete for a Super Bowl Championship.