5 Most Overpaid and Underpaid Colts Currently on the Roster
The Indianapolis Colts made a ton of changes in the offseason to their roster. They released almost all of their stars from the previous regime in efforts to enter the “rebuilding” stage. The only big names that return that people are familiar with are Reggie Wayne, Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney.
According to my depth chart, the Colts should have 12 guys playing positions that weren’t occupied by them last year. That’s a big change when the Colts constantly had the same guys playing the same roles year in and year out.
I did a lot of research on the Colts' roster and players' salaries, and these are the most overpaid or underpaid players on the 2012 roster heading into training camp.
Overpaid: Dwight Freeney
If it wasn’t for the Colts letting most of their big-name guys go, I never would have came across how much money Dwight Freeney is actually due. He’s by far the highest-paid player on the roster, as he’s due $14.035 million next year.
That wouldn’t be too bad for a guy that could arguably go down as one of the best defenders in franchise history. The problem is the Colts changed from their old base 4-3 scheme to a newly adapted 3-4 scheme. Freeney, who’s only 6'1", 268 pounds, is severely undersized for his natural position of a defensive lineman in a 3-4.
He’s now an outside linebacker, a position he’s never played before. While he said he dropped back in coverage a little bit in his first couple of years (via Rotoworld.com), paying a guy roughly $14 million to play a new position is a big risk.
My other problem with paying him that much is he only had 19 tackles last year. Sure, he was a Pro Bowler, but that was more due to a popularity vote. Do you really want to pay a guy $1 million a tackle?
Sure, his career is Hall of Fame-worthy. His 286 tackles with 102.5 of them being sacks is remarkable, but paying him $14 million is insane in a rebuilding effort.
I hope he can earn that money this year and the Colts can restructure this contract in the offseason, because I really don’t want to see him go. But financially, it doesn’t make sense to keep him past 2012.
Overpaid: Fili Moala
Fili Moala is in his last year of a four-year, $3.3 million contract. This is basically his put-up-or-shut-up year. Unfortunately, the Colts haven’t gotten the production out of Moala that they’ve hoped.
His current contract was a great deal when he signed. He was supposed to be the defensive tackle of the future and had high upside coming out of USC. Unfortunately, he hasn’t lived up to expectations, as he only has 55 career tackles and has only played one full season out of three.
What’s even more disappointing is his two career sacks, which he recorded last season.
Moala is due $565,000 dollars and he’s not even projected to be a starter. That’s too high for a guy in a contract year that at this point should be starting. Unless Moala has a breakout season, I expect his fourth season to be his final one in a Colts uniform.
Underpaid: Austin Collie
Austin Collie has to be one of the most underpaid guys on this Colts roster. Sure, he had two severe concussions two seasons ago, but before that he was showing signs of the next great Colts receiver.
I think he would have had a better season last year if the quarterbacks weren’t so dismal throwing to him. He only had 54 receptions for 514 yards and one touchdown in 2011. The year before that, he had 58 catches for 649 yards and eight touchdowns in just nine games. And the year before that, his rookie season, he had 60 receptions for 676 yards and seven touchdowns.
In his first two years, he averaged just over 11 yards per reception. With the "next Peyton Manning” throwing to him, I expect his numbers to increase to the levels where he was in his first two seasons. He’s slated to be a starter this year and is only due $1.308 million.
Let that soak in a bit. A starting wide receiver in the NFL that averaged over 11 yards per completion his first two seasons is only getting paid $1.308 million this year. Now, I understand he’s still in his rookie contract, but if he is back to what he was prior to the injuries, the Colts have to pay the man.
I like Collie to have a big year and show he earned more money.
Underpaid: Reggie Wayne
Reggie Wayne gave the Colts a big discount when he re-signed during this offseason. The future Hall of Famer should be near the top 10 in salary for wide receivers. He’s arguably the best receiver to put on a Colts uniform with Marvin Harrison, as he has 862 career receptions, 11,708 receiving yards and 73 touchdowns in 12 seasons of work.
Last year, his numbers dipped, but that was all due to the fact that the worst quarterback in franchise history, Curtis Painter, was throwing to him. I expect Wayne and new quarterback Andrew Luck to pick up where Manning and Wayne left off in their early days.
Wayne is only due $1 million this year. With a guy of his caliber and stats to go along with being a No. 1 receiver, I think the Colts got a steal. His new deal, without question, should allow him to retire wearing the blue and white No. 87 for his entire tenure in the league.
I think Wayne is severely underpaid, but he did a genuinely great thing to take less money and remain a Colt.
Underpaid: Pat Angerer
I think if this new defense is successful, Pat Angerer may be one of the top five linebackers in the league. In two seasons, he already has 236 tackles (with 136 of those being solo), two sacks and an interception. The guy just knows how to find the gap and make plays.
Angerer has never missed a game in his career and is tough as nails. He enters his third season in his rookie contract, but will arguably be the best player on the defensive side of the ball this year and for many years to come.
How much money is the best defensive player due this year? A grand total of $825,000, including bonuses. Indy's toughest and best all-around defender won’t even make $1 million dollars this year.
The man is due some money, but what makes him great is he’s not crying for more. Normally, a guy that had his kind of production after two successful seasons wants to be paid. Angerer has kept his mouth shut and just wants to play.
I think it will pay off for him in the long run, but he’s very underpaid right now.