For the second straight season in 2013, the Indianapolis Colts made a trip to the playoffs behind the play of second-year quarterback Andrew Luck.
Now with the young phenom gunslinger heading into his third season, team owner Jim Irsay needs to finish equipping his team with the tools it takes to continue having the success the team had during the “Manning Years”.
This season the Colts have a number of key free agents on their own team with running back Donald Brown, linebacker Cam Johnson, and place kicker Adam Vinatieri at the top of the list they need to focus on getting under contract before March 11 when the market opens.
Without having a first round pick in the 2014 Draft thanks to the Trent Richardson trade, the Colts will have to take the best available player when they are on the clock. That’s not a bad deal if you look at it from a money perspective since Irsay can now spend in free agency what he would have been required to pay a first-rounder.
Thanks to general manager Ryan Grigson’s moves over the past couple of seasons by getting rid of top dollar contracts, the Colts have roughly $36 million in cap space to play with. Here are some players the Colts should sign to help spend some of the cash they have.
Eric Decker - Wide Receiver
The best way to beat the Denver Broncos is to take away Peyton Manning's targets that he likes to throw to. Eric Decker has been one of Manning’s favorite receivers by throwing to him 160 times over the past two regular seasons.
Decker has played in 62 regular season games where he has caught 222 of 363 targeted passes for 3,070 yards, 33 touchdowns, and 4 fumbles over the four seasons he has been in the league.
Hakeem Nicks - Wide Receiver
Nicks has played all 70 of his regular season games with the New York Giants where he has made 311 of his 538 targeted passes for 4,622 yards, 27 touchdowns, and 3 fumbles. He also has played in three playoff games, and a Super Bowl with the Giants where he had 28 catches for 444 yards, 4 touchdowns, and 1 fumble.
Jared Allen - Defensive End
Allen has been a force over the past eleven seasons playing for the Kansas City Chiefs and Minnesota Vikings where he has played in all but three regular season games.
During his time with the two teams Allen has made 554 total tackles, 128.5 sacks, 29 forced fumbles, 17 fumble recoveries, 51 defended passes, 5 interceptions, and 1 touchdown.
Jairus Byrd - Safety
Over five seasons while playing with the Buffalo Bills, Byrd has played in 73 regular season games where he has made 356 total tackles, 3 sacks, 11 forced fumbles, 5 fumbles recovered, 33 defended passes, 22 interceptions, and 2 touchdowns.
Drayton Florence - Cornerback
Florence has spent the past eleven seasons in the league playing for the San Diego Super Chargers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, and Carolina Panthers. Over his career, Florence has played in 157 games where he has made 486 total tackles, 3 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 103 defended passes, and 3 touchdowns.