Best & Worst Contracts 2014: Indianapolis Colts

Moving our best and worst series along we examine the Indianapolis Colts

Best Contract: Hakeem Nicks

For whatever reason I have always liked Hakeem Nicks and feel as if this contract has the potential to be the steal of the offseason. While Nicks has never been the same following injuries I do wonder how much of that has been a lack of desire and concentration on his part. He has a tendency to do dump things on the field like attempting a one hand highlight grab when a normal catch will suffice, but I just feel as if he should be so motivated after the lack of interest in him in free agency.

The free agent offseason should be a wakeup call to Nicks, who went into 2013 thinking he could sleepwalk his way into an $11 million a year contract like Dwayne Bowe, Mike Wallace, and Percy Harvin did the year before. The Colts got him for next to nothing- a one year $4 million contract with $2.25 million guaranteed and $400,000 tied to playing time. That’s less money than was earned by Julian Edelman, Riley Cooper, Andre Roberts, Jeremy Maclin and a number of others who don’t have either the track record or upside as Nicks.

I know a lot of people dislike Nicks, but this is a contract that is essentially 50 cents on the dollar for a team that plays in a perfect environment and likes to air the football out. This is the ideal situation for both the Colts and Nicks. If they cant get greatness out of him likely nobody will, but at this price it’s well worth the risk associated with the contract.

Worst Contract: Erik Walden

I  think you simply go back to the 2013 free agency class and take your pick of bad contracts with the Colts. You have what was likely a mix up on Gosder Cherilus contract, an overpayment for Laron Landry, a bad idea that Greg Toler could be an effective starter, among other moves. But nothing that happened in 2013 really changed my mind that Erik Walden continues to be the worst contract on the team.

Walden is, at best, a fill in starter in the NFL. Ideally he is a situational role player on a decent defense where you can hide some of his deficiencies. This should have been apparent from day 1, but Indianapolis, flush with cap room, decided that they saw enough to pencil him in as a starting linebacker. He received $8 million in guarantees, which was more impressive that other more proven players at the position. Of that $8 million only $1 million came in the form of a signing bonus and just $4 million was fully guaranteed, meaning the Colts could have escaped after one year, but they chose to let the contract continue.

Walden, as a starter, was about as productive as he was when a backup type.  More opportunities, but the same amount of impact plays on the game. In most cases he is a liability. It’s one of those contracts that made no sense. He was unproductive with Green Bay, playing alongside Clay Matthews who should open up many opportunities for him. In his first run into free agency nobody in the NFL showed any interest. There was nothing he did in 2012 that should have upped his stock for his return to free agency in 2013, but in the Colts mind he did more than enough to merit the job and a nice little contract for a minimal track record. Barring a major turnaround in 2014, it is hard to picture him staying a Colt past this season.

2013’s Best and Worst Colts Contracts:

2013 Best Contract: Reggie Wayne(Injured, Remains on team)

2013 Worst Contract: Erik Walden (See above)

Click Here to Check out OTC’s other Best and Worst Contracts from around the NFL!

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  • Kirk Vollmer

    To be fair as a Colt’s fan I think the bad contracts they handed out in 2013 need to be put in the context of a team with a lot of cap room and a complete lack of players who could even be considered to be fill in starters. So I believe that the team was trying to just get players in there by “making them an offer they couldn’t refuse”. Especially when in 2014 the team didn’t raise many eyebrows with over the top contracts like in 2013 indicating that over-paying isn’t a pattern but rather a strategy used in 2013 when they had plenty of money but very little talent.

    • Thats a fair opinion. I think they did overpay this year as well on guys like DQwell Jackson too, for what its worth. I just kind of feel that for some of these players they were in a state of bidding against themselves. I get the offer they cant refuse deal but Id prefer to do it when I know they have a real alternative. I mean its possible they did (I cant picture it for Walden, Toler and Landry but its not impossible), but I just think they could have slow played their hand better and still gotten the players at better terms. In fairness these are all effectively one and two year contracts so its not as awful as others. Its just hard to see the upside in almost any of them

      • Kirk Vollmer

        I agree but there is a fog of war, they don’t necessarily know that Walden and Toler don’t have other offers. So they and their agent are coming into the facility and the GM has to do whatever he can to prevent them from leaving the facility, otherwise they risk being left with a scrub somewhere that not only wouldn’t start for any other team but likely wouldn’t even make any other team. So they over pay. As with D’Qwell Jackson I disagree. . . If you read the reports D’Qwell said that other teams gave him bigger offers then Indy but he chose Indy because he wanted to play with a winning team. His contract is like Walden’s in that it’s essentially a 2 year deal, which is important given his age. Honestly though I don’t expect them to be too active in free agency in the next couple years. Colts have several important players from the 2012 draft class they have to extend plus put Luck on 14 mil+ 5th year option. So they will likely have to improve through the draft.

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