An Early Look at some Possible Changes this Offseason

We all know this offseason will bring about a lot of change in Indianapolis.  But what will those changes be?  Here is my best guess as to what will happen, based on what I know currently. 

Reggie Wayne – I think that Reggie will not be a Colt next year.  From what I am hearing, he wants significant money that I am not sure he is worth at the age of 33.  The Colts likely will think that he is not worth it either.  With fellow WR Pierre Garcon being a free agent as well, and with him being only 25 years old, I think the Colts will re-sign him instead of Wayne.  Check out this post I wrote 2 weeks ago prior to Reggie’s “last” home game

Jeff Saturday – It seems logical that the 36 year old Saturday would not return.  But I think that there is a good chance he comes back on a one year deal.  Peyton Manning would really want Saturday back.  If the Colts do decide to go with Andrew Luck as their starter (and I will get to that shortly), then I still think there is a chance that the Colts would bring him back on a one year deal to ease the transition.  If the Colts keep both Manning and Luck, then they will need to find some money if they were to keep Saturday.  But he is the type of guy and the type of player that I think they may keep. 

Robert Mathis – Mathis also has a contract that expires this offseason.  I expect the 30 year old Mathis to be re-signed, keeping the best pass rush duo in the league together.  However, if the Colts go with both Manning and Luck, I doubt they re-sign Mathis.  There is just no way to have two franchise quarterbacks on the same team and expect to keep all your other players.  So, if that happens, I don’t think Mathis is back. 

Gary Brackett – Brackett is the defensive captain of the Colts and has played really well in his career in Indy.  The Colts never re-sign their own linebackers, so when they re-signed Brackett a few years ago that showed what they thought of him.  But he was placed on IR early this year, which opened the way to Pat Angerer stepping up and playing incredibly well at MLB.  Angerer finished the season with 148 tackles (Brackett had 6) and should have made the pro bowl.  Angerer’s great play and Brackett’s age (31 years old) mean Brackett’s career in Indy is all but over, and he knows that as well

  Jacob Tamme – I expect the Colts to re-sign him.  I really don’t know what kind of money he would get on the open market, but I think he should be re-signed.  He had a pretty good year this year, and is a valuable player as a backup to the injury-prone Dallas Clark.  And with Wayne and Anthony Gonzalez likely not on the roster next year, a pass catching tight end like Tamme is especially valuable. 

Ryan Diem – I think Ryan Diem will not be a Colt next year.  Diem’s play has fallen off greatly in the past few years.  They moved him to guard this year, and so maybe they will choose to keep him if they do not have anyone to replace him with.  But I have a hard time envisioning a scenario in which Diem returns to the Colts next season. 

Others – I don’t think Anthony Gonzalez will be back next year.  The former first round pick did not catch a pass this year.  He was a healthy scratch against the Jaguars.  His contract is up, and there is no way the Colts keep him.  I also think the Colts will part way with injury-prone safety Melvin Bullitt.  They will need to find someone to replace him (David Caldwell, anyone?  Anyone?), but I don’t think they will bring him back.  I expect him to be released.  Another player I think could be let go is also a former first round pick, Jerry Hughes.  Hughes may still be in the franchise’s plans, and if Robert Mathis is not re-signed the Colts should keep Hughes.  But he has not shown much at all in his first two years.  There was a lot of talk of him being released in training camp.  He is a player to keep an eye on this offseason. 

Peyton Manning – Peyton Manning is the key to what happens with a lot of players, and Manning is the one that Colts fans care the most about.  This is a confusing and touchy issue.  Let me start by saying that I am confident the Colts will draft Andrew Luck.  Now, from Manning’s rookie year, he has had a special relationship with owner Jim Irsay.  People talk about how football is a business, and it is, but Irsay is incredibly loyal to Manning.  I think he will try his hardest to keep the guy who gave him his super bowl ring and so much success.  While Manning’s relationship with the Polians is not very good (and that is an understatement), I have heard nothing about a feud between Irsay and Manning.  I think that Irsay will keep Manning if Peyton is healthy (and reports say that he is doing well).  Which means that I think Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning will be on the same team to start a “new” era in Colts history.  It will not be the end of the “Manning era”, but it would be different.  Having them both means very likely not Reggie Wayne, no Robert Mathis, maybe no Jeff Saturday.  It means that the Colts would move on from the quiet, nice-guy coaching model that Dungy andCaldwell both represented.  And, while I think that Peyton Manning will be the Colts 2012 opening day starter, it will be different.  What happens the first time he throws 3 picks in a game and the Lucas Oil fans start chanting for Luck?  What happens when Luck has a great preseason?  It will be different, even if Peyton Manning is wearing the horseshoe next year.  My opinion will likely change many times before the decision is due, but for right now, I think that Peyton Manning and Andrew Luck will both be Colts next year. 

When we hear that Jim Caldwell has officially been fired (I am pretty confident he will be), I will have a post about who may replace him.  My early guess is Dom Capers, but my opinion on that will change as well.

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About Josh Wilson
Follow Josh on twitter @jwilsonWL, on Facebook at the Operation: Freedom page, or you can reach him by email at operation.freedom@yahoo.com.

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