The Colts have made three big signings so far this offseason. Don’t expect them to make any more big signings this year because of the dwindling cap space.
Chris Ballard has changed how we should think about him after this offseason spending spree. He has been hoarding all kinds of cap space the past two offseasons. This year though he has been spending big money on three different players in free agency.
Re-signing Anthony Castonzo was the first of those signings. Bringing him back was a priority, so spending big money on him isn’t surprising. He gets $16.5 million over the next two seasons. The team started with just over $85 million. With Castonzo’s signing, it brings it down to $68.5 million.
Then the Colts made the bombshell move of trading their first-round pick for DeForest Buckner. They are paying him on average $21 million over the next five seasons. This year though he gets about $23.4 million. That number brings the cap space down to $45.1 million.
Lastly, we add in Philip Rivers‘ one-year deal worth $25 million. While it’s only one year, it could turn into a multi-year deal if he performs well. But for this year’s cap purposes, it drops the number down to around $20.1 million. That’s all they have left for the rest of free agency.
Ballard will likely create some more space by releasing some players who they don’t deem necessary. But that still doesn’t leave room for another big, splashy signing. The rest of free agency will likely be players coming in on one or two-year deals for a minimal amount of cash.
Ballard has wanted to keep that cap space number high to re-sign his own guys who will need big raises. Next year they have several players who will need extensions. T.Y. Hilton, Ryan Kelly, and possibly Justin Houston are just a few of the guys who will need to be paid next offseason.
Malik Hooker is also likely to get an extension. Darius Leonard and Quenton Nelson have a little more time, but they will command top-dollar when they are eligible for free agency. Ballard will have to keep money around to keep all of these guys under contract.
I commend for what Ballard has done this offseason. But these are all the splashy moves that the team needs for this offseason.