Colts Blog: July 14, 2007

While signing Dwight Freeney may have freed up some short-term salary cap space, it is a huge amount of money and will most likely result in the release of another big-time contributor — luckily, the Colts planned ahead.

So Dwight Freeney signed yesterday. I don't think it surprised anyone, but the sheer enormity of the deal must have raised some eyebrows. Dude got $72 million for six years, including a whopping $30 million signing bonus. I know he's a game-changing pass-rusher, but that's a lot of money — enough to buy 1,716,329 22-ounce cowboy ribeye steaks at St. Elmo, more than two for every man woman and child in Indianapolis.

Even pro-rated as it will be, Freeney's contract will eat a huge portion of the Colts' future cap space. Just as Edgerrin James was jettisoned to make room for Reggie Wayne's long-term deal, someone will have to be bumped next year for Dwight the Fright. The most likely candidate is Tarik Glenn.

Of course, Glenn is still a top-flight left tackle, but James was a premier halfback. Glenn is getting older (and fatter) and his back-loaded contract makes him more expensive and more tempting to cut every year. And since he's in the final year of his current deal, it makes it all the easier for the Colts to part ways with their Pro Bowl tackle.

And, for the first time since they drafted Glenn in 1997, the Colts actually have a legitimate successor at left tackle in Tony Ugoh. So I'm thinking that all the fans who were shocked when the Colts drafted their 2008 first-rounder for Ugoh now realize that it was a necessary strategic move to keep Freeney.

• Of course, as Ed Thompson points out, Freeney's contract actually gives the Colts some immediate salary-cap relief, which could allow them to cut Corey Simon without too much of a crisis.

I remember when the Colts were thinking about signing Simon in 2005 and a bunch of people asked me what I thought. At the time, I said I liked him as a player, but didn't trust his health, conditioning and mindset. Then he came in and played like a demon, and I hoped everyone forgot what I had said.

Two years later, I'm reminding them.

Sure, Simon's a talent, but there are lots of guys with 100 mph fastballs bagging groceries at Safeway. Not only did this guy cost the team a ton of money and create a painfully obvious vacuum in the middle, but his lack of reliability forced the Colts to trade their 2007 second-round pick to get Anthony McFarland (a lesser, but still highly paid player). Not only would that pick have made it less painful to acquire Ugoh, but it also could have netted a player like Lorenzo Booker, Jacoby Jones, Jason Hill, Tank Tyler, Brandon Mebane or Garrett Wolfe.

• It's no surprise that the Colts didn't select anyone in the supplemental draft or sign any of the undrafted candidates afterwards. Of the 35 players selected in back-door drafts over the years, none of them have gone to the Colts. Interestingly, though, three of them — Steve Walsh, Tito Wooten and Tony Hollings — did eventually play for the Colts, though none of them did much.

None of this year's supplemental draft prospects appeared to be worth cutting anyone for, let alone the draft pick they would have required.

Interestingly, Hollings is still peddling his wares after having played for Hamburg of the recently deceased NFL Europa. He was decent in short yardage, but didn't show anything we haven't seen from him before. Don't expect him back unless there's a horrific spate of injuries.

A few Europa players found contracts with NFL teams after their league folded, but none became Colts. To tell the truth, the guys the Colts sent to Europe — guard Matt Ulrich, quarterback Mike McGann, defensive tackle Tom Johnson and wide receiver Brian Hare — will have to be very special in training camp to have a chance at making this team.

• KFFL today reported that the Colts signed Norman LeJeune. ColtPower reported it in ... I think it was February.


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