There will be a new sheriff in town for the 2012 season instead of Peyton Manning, the team's starting quarterback since 1998. Manning recently signed with the Denver Broncos, leaving a glaring hole at the quarterback position.
Luckily for the Colts, they hold the No. 1 overall selection in this April's draft. Additionally, they will likely use that selection on Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, who has been praised as the best prospect since the aforementioned Manning.
However, the Colts could still stun everyone and draft Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III. I highly doubt they'll do that, but anything can happen in sports.
Along with the release of Manning, the team also cut Dallas Clark, Gary Brackett, Melvin Bullitt, Joseph Addai and Curtis Painter (yay!). The team also neglected to re-sign wide receiver Pierre Garcon, who took his talents to Washington, and long-time fan-favorite center Jeff Saturday, who signed with the Packers yesterday.
Tackle Ryan Diem announced his retirement on Friday as well, and tight end Jacob Tamme will be joining Manning in Denver this season. On top of that, starting cornerback Jacob Lacey signed with the Detroit Lions a few days ago. The front office also failed to re-sign offensive lineman Mike Pollak, who quickly latched on with the Carolina Panthers.
And as most of y'all know, the team dismissed head coach Jim Caldwell and replaced him with former Ravens defensive coordinator Chuck Pagano, a defensive-minded coach who will now run a 3-4 defensive scheme in Indianapolis.
Needless to say, there's been a slight overhaul. And they're not done yet. The team re-signed Reggie Wayne and Robert Mathis and also signed receiver Donnie Avery, defensive lineman Cory Redding and safety Tom Zbikowski.
However, there are still many needs on the roster. As of right now, the Colts are nowhere close to a playoff team, something they are not used to. They will have to do a lot more through free agency or have an amazing draft if they want to return to the upper echelon of the NFL. But like I previously said, anything is possible.
There are still many solid free agents out there, and with more cap space than they had last season, the Colts should definitely take a look at the following players.