Colts running back Edgerrin James reportedly told the Indianapolis Star on Thursday that based on what he's seeing from the Colts, he expects to be playing for another team in 2006. And he sounded very disappointed by that turn of events.
"You can read between the lines and from the things I'm hearing, nothing's going to happen," he said. "And that's crazy, man. I'm part of the solution, I'm not part of the problem. Crazy, man."
James was in Detroit taping a segment for the NFL Network when he shared his assessment of his future. He played under a one-year franchise player contract in 2005, but without a significant boost in the salary cap this offseason, the Colts simply might not have enough money to go around.
The only other card that could be played if the cap isn't increased substantially would be a voluntary paycut by the other two "Triplets" to clear some cap room. Peyton Manning is scheduled to receive a $9 million roster bonus plus a $1 million salary. Marvin Harrison will receive a $10 million roster bonus plus a $2 million salary. That's $22 million of the team's 2006 cap hit, plus any prorated portions of previous signing bonuses. Both have expressed their hope that the Colts will find a way to keep James. They may need to step up if they want to change that hope to reality.
While the Colts had no comment in reaction to James' statements, Colts president Bill Polian has previously stated that his top priorities in the offseason are to re-sign unrestricted free agent Reggie Wayne and to negotiate a new deal for defensive end Dwight Freeney. Although Freeney is under contract for 2006, the Colts would like to lower his cap hit this season and secure his services for years to come.
James, in all the references to contract talk during the year has oddly been...well, the odd man out.
His comeback from a devastating knee injury has been nothing short of amazing. And his consistency from year-to-year paired with his balanced skill set as a runner, receiver and blocker are arguably unmatched by any other back in the NFL today.
"I'm a running back like Walter Payton, somebody who played a long time," he said. "I'm in that mold . . . guys who played 12, 13 years and always were consistent."
And if James is right and he has to suit up elsewhere, he'll look back with no regrets.
"At the end of the day I can say I did my part," he said. "I did what they asked me to do. At the end of the day the truth will be seen and everybody will see what kind of player I am and how important of a player I am."
James: "Nothing's Going to Happen"
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