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    One of the more perplexing features of the NFL is the salary cap. On the one hand Authentic J’Marcus Webb Jersey , it seems straight forward. On the other hand, it can get dicey and confusing. All General Managers have a salary cap that all teams must fit under. Simple, right?It gets more complicated in a hurry. After all, teams with very little cap space frequently sign marquee players to high dollar contracts. This is accomplished through bonuses, incentive-laden contract clauses, and back-loading a deal where the bulk of the contract’s value is paid in years the team expects to have more cap space.This salary cap planning and “manipulation” is what NFL salary capologists like Mike Bluem spend their time considering every day. How can we plan for the future in a way that allows Chris Ballard and Jim Irsay to field a team with the most talent in the NFL for the longest period of time? We can’t simply spend all the way up to the salary cap every year, leaving no space available, and hope to keep the nucleus together. Major contracts for our own players will consistently require work as the old ones expire and new deals need to be made.Keeping in mind the needs for our own players, how much salary cap space do we have to work with to sign free agents and bring in outside talent? How do we work all of this together to make sure we stay above the NFL’s mandated 89 percent rule?This week, we’ll take a look at these questions and do our best to shed light on the NFL salary cap, 89 percent rule, and what fans might be able to expect Chris Ballard and Mike Bluem to do in 2019 and beyond.Evaluating the Colts Top Positional NeedsIt is hard to believe how far the Colts have come at positions of need from the end of the 2017 season. Heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, we included pass rush, off-ball linebackers, offensive line, and running backs at the top of the list. While the need for pass rush remains, there is very little need to commit significant resources to adding off-ball linebackers, offensive line, or running backs.At this point http://www.indianapoliscoltsteamonline.com , the Colts defense desperately needs to find help rushing the passer. The unit did a great job stopping the run but the defensive line, secondary symbiosis was off for much of the season and made life particularly difficult against strong offenses and good quarterbacks. As the symbiosis suggests, more help in the secondary, especially in terms of depth is important and the work to add to the interior of the defensive line will never end. In particular, the safety position could go through considerable turnover if Chris Ballard chooses not to retain his own free agents. On offense, Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton would benefit considerably by adding a couple of legitimate threats at wide receiver through the draft or free agency. Our list: Pass Rush, Wide Receiver, Secondary, Defensive Line — Depth?Outside Free Agent Prospects and Contract ExpectationsFor the purposes of projecting impact players who could attract Chris Ballard’s attention, we will use his modus operandi as a guide. We are looking for players who are still relatively young, do not have known locker room or off-field issues to speak of, and players who could offer nice value relative to their expected contract.Edge RusherTrey Flowers — It is really hard to get a read on what motivates Bill Belichick as it relates to retaining his own free agents. On the one hand, Flowers is clearly a talented pass rusher and likely the best pass rushing talent on his team. On the other hand, Belichick has regularly allowed players who have had career seasons go in free agency as he appears supremely confident that he can replace the production with cheaper options.Flowers has played three consecutive seasons with 6.5 or more sacks for the Patriots. This isn’t playing at an elite pass rushing level but he is still only 25 years old and plays in a more complex defense than he would in Indianapolis. Could he see a spike in production with the Colts?Spotrac projects his average annual salary at $15.3M, in line with contracts offered to Calais Campbell, Olivier Vernon, and Jason Pierre-Paul. This seems pretty hefty for his level of production but pass rushers in free agency are expensive. The total contract value is expected to be in the range of $76,856,890 for 5 years.Preston Smith — The Washington Redskins are staring at an interesting future. They have a relatively small amount of expected cap space Indianapolis Colts T-Shirt , numerous players hitting free agency, and have to determine how they want to plan for the future. They will certainly try to retain Smith but if he wants to test the water in free agency there could be greener pastures and deeper pockets available.Spotrac projects his average annual salary at $11.1M, in line with contracts offered to Nick Perry and Jabaal Sheard a few years ago. The total contract is expected to be in the range of $44,760,200 for 4 years.Dante Fowler, Jr. — The Rams are heading to the Super Bowl and they have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. Fowler was a nice pickup from the Jaguars to add to their edge rushing presence but it will be interesting to see what Sean McVay has in mind for his team in 2019. What could make Fowler intriguing is that he shouldn’t have an exorbitant price tag. He has yet to make a leap to NFL relevance as a pass rusher. He may never make the leap but at 26 years old he could be an interesting, young prospect. I would expect his contract to be around what it took to sign Adrian Clayborn and Brandon Graham, who were paid an average of $5M and $6.5M respectively. We will split the difference and project $5.75M for a one- or two-year deal.Wide ReceiverAdam Humphries — Humphries has entered each of his NFL seasons as a tertiary receiving option but regularly outperforms expectations. A former undrafted player on a team with big names and big personalities on the field with him, Humphries has generated over 600 yards and caught over 50 passes in each of the last three seasons. He is coming off of the most productive season of his career with over 800 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. He is the type of reliable, possession receiver the Colts could use as a meaningful part of the offensive game plan.Spotrac projects his average annual salary at $10.4M per year, in line with contracts offered to Tyler Lockett and Doug Baldwin. The total contract value is expected to be in the range of $42M for 4 years.Tyrell Williams — Williams had the best season of his career in 2016 when Keenan Allen suffered a season-ending injury in the season opener. That season, he caught 69 passes for 1059 yards and 7 touchdowns. Since then, his “disappointing” seasons have generated 728 and 653 yards and 4 and 5 touchdowns in 2017 and 2018, respectively. He plays on a team that is loaded with offensive weapons like Keenan Allen, Mike Williams (who makes him expendable), Travis Benjamin, Hunter Henry, Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. There is only so much football to go around and Williams has still been relatively productive. It is easy to believe that a change of scenery could reignite Williams’ career (think Eric Ebron) and his familiarity with Frank Reich’s offense makes him a logical target. He is still only 27 years oldSpotrac projects his average annual salary at $9.6M. The total contract value is expected to be in the range of $29M for 3 years.For those who are wondering, the Colts could add Williams and Humphries for about the same cap hit as it would take to bring in Antonio Brown and wouldn’t have to give up a draft pick or other trade pieces to get them.ANALYSISFor the sake of analyzing the possible impact on the salary cap and how much room the Colts would have overall Indianapolis Colts Hats , let’s assume the Colts sign Dante Fowler Jr. and Tyrell Williams — which we acknowledge is an unlikely scenario. After “signing” in-house free agents the team was left with $87,873,975 in available cap. These contracts would cost $15,350,000 in this hypothetical and that would leave $72,523,975 in cap space remaining, good for sixth in the NFL — assuming teams projected at 1-5 haven’t spent any of their own salary cap acquiring players. This is $22,734,316 more than the Colts retained in available cap at the end of 2018. The Colts 2019 salary cap situation: Part I — How the NFL salary cap works – Stampede BlueOne of the more perplexing features of the NFL is the salary cap. On the one hand, it seems straight forward. You have a salary cap that all teams must fit under. Simple, right?It gets more…The Colts 2019 salary cap situation: Part II — Chris Ballard and Mike Bluem have options – Stampede BlueOne of the more perplexing features of the NFL is the salary cap. On the one hand, it seems straight forward. You have a salary cap that all teams must fit under. Simple, right?It gets more…The Colts 2019 salary cap situation: Part III — Projecting in-house free agents – Stampede BlueOne of the more perplexing features of the NFL is the salary cap. On the one hand, it seems straight forward. You have a salary cap that all teams must fit under. Simple, right?It gets more…Fantasy Football: Analyzing waiver wire adds for Week 5 Running backsPhoto by Michael Hickey/Getty ImagesT.J. Yeldon Yeldon is in prime position to have a big week. It seems like Leonard Fournette, the former No. 4 overall pick of the 2017 NFL Draft, is never going to put together a full slate of 16 games, and that’s okay for a Jacksonville team that can use other backs until the playoffs. 2018 might be a lost year for Fournette Indianapolis Colts Hoodie , fantasy wise, due to several hamstring issues. The good news for Yeldon owners is that the former Alabama running back has the chance to assume the role as the lead back behind Blake Bortles. One week ago, Yeldon eclipsed 100 yards from scrimmage, scoring a touchdown on the ground and through the air. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty ImagesNick ChubbCarlos Hyde is the No. 1 running back for the Cleveland Browns, but that may not last long with the emergency of Chubb against the Oakland Raiders. Chubb has shown his talent in four games, although he has carried the ball just 10 times. But during those 10 touches he has gained over 146 yards which includes two runs of 63 and 41 yards for touchdowns against Oakland. Chubb is on his way to get more touches, which makes him a nice RB3 and stash option — just in case Hyde goes down with an injury. QuarterbacksPhoto by Sam Greenwood/Getty ImagesBlake Bortles Bortles’ numbers have fluctuated each week, but he’s facing a Kansas City defense that is on a short week and one of the worst in the league when it comes to pass coverage. Against the Patriots and Jets, Bortles put up over 300 yards and at least two touchdowns. In those two games, he totaled 764 yards and six passing touchdowns. It wouldn’t be surprising if the former UCF star did the same against a lackluster Chief secondary. If you need a quarterback, Bortles is available in 68 percent of fantasy leagues. Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty ImagesMarcus MariotaMariota hasn’t had the greatest luck in the world, dealing with injuries to himself and to his weapons. The rampage of bad luck began when Delanie Walker went down with a broken ankle in the season opener. Mariota followed that up with injuring his shoulder in Week 2. Week 3 wasn’t his greatest outing, throwing for 100 yards and no touchdowns — following the game Rishard Matthews iterated to management and the coaching staff that he wasn’t happy with the amount of targets he was receiving and asked for a release. With an elbow and shoulder issue — which has caused him to loose feeling in his fingers at times — Mariota bounced back with 344 yards and two scores against the defending Super Bowl champs and giving his team a victory. The former Oregon quarterback may not have season-long fantasy value, but the Titans have a matchup with the Buffalo Bills this week, which makes Mariota a nice streamer option for a team dealing with quarterback issues.

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