Three Best, Three Worst Contracts for the Indianapolis Colts

Nate DunlevyGuest ColumnistJanuary 17, 2013

Three Best, Three Worst Contracts for the Indianapolis Colts

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    Every team has its share of team-friendly deals.

    The Indianapolis Colts have more than most.

    In sorting through the best and worst contracts for each team in the division, the Colts have a unique advantage. Because they bit the cap hell bullet all at once last year, Indy will go into 2013 without dead money or terrible contracts to worry about.

    The result is an abundance of cap room that will serve the team well going forward.

    Here are the three best and three worst deals (and what they can do about them) on the books for Indy.

3 Best: Andrew Luck

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    Length: Four years

    Total Value: $22.1 million

    Total Signing Bonus: $14.5 million ($10.9 still to be accounted for)

    2013 Salary: $1.4 million

    Estimated Cap number: $5 million

    Peak Cap Number: $7 million

    Years Remaining: Three

    When a team acquires an elite quarterback talent under the new rookie salary structure, it gets a four-year bargain that can dramatically move up the window for a championship.

    The Colts have Andrew Luck signed to a four-year deal worth only $22.1 million. When it comes to bargain deals, this is about as good as they come.

    The Colts will get three more years of Luck on the cheap, but come 2016, they had better have plenty of cap spaced cleared out, because his yearly hit could triple overnight.

Dwayne Allen

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    Length: Four years

    Total Value: $3.08 million

    Total Signing Bonus: $703,304 ($520K still unaccounted for)

    2013 Salary: $527,000

    Estimated Cap number: $700,000

    Peak Cap Number: $975,750

    Years Remaining: Three

     

    Allen was fantastic in his rookie season, and as a third-round choice, the Colts get him on the cheap. He's going to cost the team well under a million dollars almost every year of his rookie deal.

    Allen is an excellent blocker and with 45 catches for 521 yards in his debut season, he hit numbers that Dallas Clark never reached until he was 28 and in his fifth year in the league.

Anthony Castonzo

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    Length: Four years

    Total Value: $8 million

    Total Signing Bonus: $4.3 million ($2.1 still to be accounted for)

    2013 Salary: $1.1 million

    Estimated Cap number: $2.1 million

    Peak Cap Number: $2.5 million

    Years Remaining: Two

     

    Castonzo has developed into a strong run blocker, and while he may not be an elite left tackle, the overall weakness of the line makes it difficult to judge his ceiling.

    Regardless of where he ends up settling in, Castonzo is undeniably a quality player and at the price the Colts are paying for him, he's affordable as well.

3 Worst: Antoine Bethea

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    Length: Four years

    Total Value: $27 million

    Total Signing Bonus: $18 million guaranteed among all bonuses ($4.5 still to be accounted for)

    2013 Salary: $4.55 million

    Estimated Cap number: roughly $9 million

    Years Remaining: One

     

    If Bethea's deal is the worst contract on a roster, it's a sign that the roster is healthy.

    Bethea isn't a bad player, but he's no longer dynamic either. His cap number is higher than his value for the 2013 season, but his actual salary number is still quite reasonable.

    The fact that Bethea will likely play out his four-year deal to completion is a sign that it was a well-conceived contract and fair to both sides.

    It's not a great deal now but on the balance has been impossible to criticize for the Colts. Even in the last year, the money is reasonable enough to make it not worth considering cutting him.

    He'll play out the contract and become a free agent after the 2013 season.

Samson Satele

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    Length: Three years

    Total Value: $10.8 million

    Total Signing Bonus: $3.2 million ($2 million still unaccounted for)

    2013 Salary: $2.7 million

    Estimated Cap Number: $3.7 million

    Peak Cap Number: $4.9 million

    Years Remaining: Two

     

    Satele's deal is not ridiculous, but considering how poorly he played, he's overpaid.

    Satele missed five games in 2012, and when he was on the field, he wasn't effective. He struggled pass-blocking all year.

    His run blocking is credible at best, but it's nowhere near enough to account for the constant pressure he allows up the middle.

    It's clear he's not the answer at center for the Colts, and even his modest cap number is too big a hit for the production he generates.

    If the Colts do move on from Satele, the good news is that it will produce modest cap savings. Of course, all that means is that his 2013 salary is too high.

Jerry Hughes

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    Length: Five years

    Total Value: $9.7 million

    Total Signing Bonus: $7 million ($2.8 still unaccounted for)

    2013 Salary: $870,000

    Estimated Cap Number: $2.3 million

    Peak Cap Number: $2.5 million

    Years Remaining: Two

     

    It may not be fair to call this a bad contract as much as it is a contract given to a bad player.

    The money is not outrageous for Hughes, but the fact that he only made the roster in 2012 because it was too expensive to cut him speaks volumes.

    Hughes played better in the 3-4 scheme, but better is not the same as well. He has some utility as a pass-rusher, but he's a part-time player at best.

    It would cost more to cut Hughes than it would to keep him, cap-wise. That's the definition of a bad deal. He very likely could make the roster again in 2013, saved by his name inked on a deal.