Best and Worst Contracts 2016: Indianapolis Colts

Our picks continue in the AFC South with the Colts


Best: Mike Adams, 2 years, $4.3 million, $1.2M guaranteed

Adams certainly has been around the NFL playing with four teams over 12 seasons in the NFL, but the best years of his career have come at the end of it with the Colts. The Colts signed Adams as a minimum salaried player in 2014 where he became one of the better players for the season with 77 tackles and 5 interceptions. Adams was named to the Pro Bowl that year.

Despite his season the Colts used the age factor against him when signing him to a two year contract worth just a hair over $2 million a season. Of that figure over $1 million was tied to per game bonuses and no signing bonus was used to make up the guarantee. Adams was playing better than other 30+ players like Dwight Lowery and Michael Griffin who would sign a year later for slightly more money.

Adams went on to another Pro Bowl season in 2015 and while he has earned a few added dollars in incentives he is without a doubt the best bargain on the Colts roster. 

Worst: Dwayne Allen, 4 years, $29.4 million, $11.5M guaranteed

The Colts have done some downright silly contracts in the past with the likes of Laron Landry, Gosder Cherilus and others, but I have no clue what the justification was for this contract. Allen has accounted for 1,045 yard in his entire career. Not one season, a four year career. Allen is coming off a season where he had just 109 yards in 13 games. Those are not the kind of seasons that generally lead to a big payday in free agency, let alone one that lands you in the top 10 at the position when ranked by APY.

Even if the Colts see something that nobody else does I just don’t see the market that allows you to effectively bid against yourself for this one. Coby Fleener, who was more productive in this offense, came in at less. Jordan Cameron, who had higher highs, came sluggishly into free agency and didn’t get a deal this good. Dennis Pitta. Martellus Bennett. The list goes on and on for more productive players who signed for less. The closest comp might be Kyle Rudolph and even he had a far more impressive resume.

The lone benefit on this contract is that the entire guarantee is paid out in the first year and the Colts could move in in 2017 before his guarantee vests that year. I don’t consider that a big benefit since the franchise tag would have cost less and in this case it would have made more sense, in my opinion, to use the tag and then see what happened without Fleener on the team before making a big commitment.

  • McGeorge

    I’d almost say the Andrew Luck contract is the best. He could have demanded a lot more. And they can still franchise him after it’s over.

    • Ghoston

      Who knows if the franchise tag will exist at that time with the new CBA. I am sure players are going to fight to get rid of it. But yeah they can franchise him 2 times and it will still be a bargain.

      • McGeorge

        What concerns me with getting rid of the franchise tag is teams that draft well won’t be able to retain players. If the franchise tag is removed, I think there will be too much parity. The entire game will revolve around being able to draft a franchise QB.
        If a team develops a player, they will leave. If they draft well, those players leave. There won’t be enough surplus value in these contracts to benefit the teams that much.

        I worry it will water down the league.

        • Ghoston

          No it won’t water down the league. Players that get franchised tag equals less than .04% the last 20 years total. Also tell me how long players that get franchised tagged last after they are franchised tagged. This will make teams make really stupid decisions and make the dollars go up and place more teams in cap hell and have to keep players at dumb decisions. Right now we have no outlier contracts cause gms are smart now. But take out the franchise tag which only effects 6 players a year you will see those guys get big dollars. that makes the upper tier go up a couple mil. the mid tier will go up minimal. The lower teir will be the same. taking 6 players off the franchise tag won’t do much but will help some other guys and we will now see who the smart teams are.

          • McGeorge

            The reason I think removing franchising will water down the league (i.e. make all teams more equal) is good players are free and clear sooner. So there is less incentive to accept a contract after 3 years. The player might as well play that last year at a lower contract, then be over paid by some desperate team. This means teams lose their best player since it’s not worth retaining them.

            Smart teams will still have an advantage in that they manage their cap more effectively, but they will have less of an advantage, since they still lose a good player. With franchising, the smart team can try and sign players early (like the Patriots do) and pay a little less and lock in some surplus value.

          • Ghoston

            That Pats example is dumb. They have franchised tagged a lot of players the last 15 years. If you do research they are in the top 10 of franchising players.

            Like I said it only applies to 5-7 players a year that is neglible.

          • McGeorge

            It will allow more top players to go free agent, causing other players to refuse extensions, in the hopes of getting more money. I think this will water down the league and harm the well run teams. They won’t be able to lock in players early.