In retrospect, it’s pretty difficult to determine whether the Indianapolis Colts’ 2020 season was a success. On one hand, they finished with one of the best records in the league, the defense proved that it’s trending towards becoming a championship-caliber unit, and Philip Rivers defied the odds and was better than advertised under center.
On the other hand, however, all that momentum and promise ended with a gutting defeat in the first round of the playoffs. It would probably be harsh to deem the Colts’ campaign a failure given the strides they made compared to 2019, but the potential they flashed proves that fans’ expectations will increase dramatically come next season.
No more moral victories. This roster is poised to compete for a championship and they will firmly enter that conversation so long as the front office makes a few blockbuster additions this offseason, whether it be through trade or free agency.
It’s well-documented that the Colts will be flush with cap space — about $69 million, which is good for the second-most in the league — but that doesn’t mean they won’t be inclined to move off of some players to create even more leeway for spending.
With that in mind, let’s attempt to highlight a few guys on Indianapolis’ roster who could end up as cap casualties this offseason due to the money they’re slated to earn in 2021.
Here are three Colts players who could be released this offseason.
3. Matthew Adams
Matthew Adams clearly doesn’t have a future on the Colts.
The Colts’ roster is so youthful that they really don’t have a ton of bad contracts they can dump in order to save a large chunk of cap space. When you run through the players slated to account for the biggest cap hits in 2021, you simply can’t make a case to cut any of them. And if one of them did end up getting axed, chances are GM Chris Ballard would be out of a job the following day.
Since that obviously isn’t going to happen — barring one grizzled vet (more on that later) — Indy will have to settle for releasing fringe roster players to free up less than $2 million. However, given how close they are to entering the championship conversation, every penny salvaged could prove to be significant in the grand scheme of things.
With that settled, first up on the cap casualty list is linebacker Matthew Adams, who’s really struggled to make an impact on defense since he was drafted in the seventh round back in 2018. Since then, he’s appeared in 41 games (nine starts) and has played just 10.3% of the defensive snaps, which included a goose egg this past season.
Adams did have a featured role on special teams as a rookie and sophomore, but his workload in that regard scaled back considerably in 2020, as he went from a 69.5% snap share over his first two campaigns to an outrageously low 34% share in his third year.
The 25-year-old talent is only slated to earn $945,398 next season, but releasing him would save the Colts $920,000. Again, that’s not a massive number, but it’s extra cash for maybe an addition draft pick.