Colts 2013 Salary Situation: Breaking Down Indianapolis' Current Cap Status
Salary cap space will be an important factor over the next several weeks, as the Indianapolis Colts and 31 other NFL teams enter free agency and begin chipping away at the available space under the 2013 cap.
According to Spotrac, the Colts entered Tuesday's new league year with $42.7 million in spending money—the third most in the NFL. Such salary-cap comfort should give the Colts freedom to be aggressive on the open market.
For your convenience, we will be using this space to provide real-time updates on the Colts' current salary cap situation. As new signings and re-signings become official, we will provide the new numbers crunch the available space.
UPDATE: According to Paul Kuharsky, the Colts have $13.2 million in cap room for 2013, current through Friday, March 15.
Latest Signings and Re-Signings
Here's how the Colts arrived at their current cap space:
March 15: Released safety Tom Zbikowski, per Chris Burke.
March 13: Signed defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois to a four-year, $22 million deal.
March 13: Signed safety LaRon Landry to a four-year, $24 million deal.
March 12: Re-signed cornerback Darius Butler to a two-year deal.
March 12: Signed OT Gosder Cherilus to a five-year deal worth $34 million, CB Greg Toler to a three-year, $15 million deal, LB Erik Walden to a four-year, $16 million deal, G Donald Thomas to a four-year, $14 million deal and OLB Lawrence Sidbury.
March 7: CB Cassius Vaughn and G Jeff Linkenbach, low RFA tenders for $1.323 million each.
March 4: DE Fili Moala, one-year deal for $850,000.
March 1: P Pat McAfee, franchise-tagged for $2.97 million.
RFA Tenders to Vaughn, Linkenbach
The Colts gave cornerback Cassius Vaughn and guard Jeff Linkenbach the lowest restricted free agent tender, otherwise known as the original-round tender.
The tenders will cost Indianapolis $1.323 million for each player, bringing the total investment in both to roughly $2.646 million in 2013.
Franchise Tag for P Pat McAfee
The Colts ensured their punter would be in Indianapolis in 2013 when they handed McAfee the one-year franchise tag.
In 2013, the franchise tag for punters and kickers is just $2.97 million. The Colts can lower that number by reaching a long-term deal before the July deadline.
Re-Signing DE Fili Moala
The former 56th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft will receive one last shot at making a career in Indianapolis after agreeing to a one-year deal with the Colts.
Moala, who did show some flashes before hurting his knee late in the season, will make just $850,000 in 2013. If he doesn't make the team in camp, the Colts would be on the hook for very little against their 2013 cap.
Signing OT Gosder Cherilus
Cherilus signed a five-year deal worth $34 million, plus $10 million in guarantees. The agreement made Cherilus the second-highest paid right tackle in the NFL.
According to Pual Kuharsky of ESPN, the deal will count $7.5 million against the Colts cap in 2013. Such a cap hit is palatable for an offense that really needed to upgrade in pass protection this offseason.
Signing CB Greg Toler
Toler agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal (guarantees not disclosed) with the Colts, who will likely slide the former Cardinal right into the starting lineup at cornerback.
For a starting corner, $5 million a season (on average) isn't at all excessive. Toler's 2013 cap number isn't known, but one could expect this deal to be somewhat backloaded, meaning his hit won't be as hard for next season.
Update: Toler's 2013 cap hit is $4.33 million.
Signing LB Erik Walden and G Donald Thomas
Walden (four years, $16 million) and Thomas (four years, $14 million) signed deals equalling $30 million over the next four seasons.
Walden's deal will average $4 million a season, but expect his cap number to be low during the first year or two, with most of the money available in the final two seasons.
Thomas will make just $3.5 million a season, and he's much more likely to have an instant impact. His cap hit is also unknown for 2013.
UPDATE: Walden's 2013 cap hit will be $3.25 million. Thomas is at $2.75 million.
Signing S LaRon Landry, DL Ricky Jean-Francois
The hit for LaRon Landry's new deal will cost the Colts $5.75 million on the 2013 cap, or the fourth-highest on Indy's current roster.
Jean-Francois' deal doesn't yet have a cap number, but it's expect to be in the $3-5 million range.
Overall, the Colts spent somewhere between $8-10 million in 2013 for two players expected to be immediate starters.