Even though the offseason is well underway, there is plenty of news to talk about regarding the Indianapolis Colts. New general manager Chris Ballard has decided to part ways with inside linebacker D'Qwell Jackson, releasing the 33-year-old today, according to the Indianapolis Star. Jackson was a prized free agent acquisition for the Colts in 2014, but began to show signs of slowing down shortly after his arrival in Indianapolis.
Jackson's release will free up an additional $6 million in salary cap space for the Colts, who are in the process of rebuilding an aging defense that has not been effective in recent years. Indianapolis will have up to $56 million to spend in free agency this offseason to stock the defense, as well as fill some holes on the offensive side of the ball.
The NFL Draft will give the Colts another opportunity to reload their roster, and SB Nation reports that two prominent mock drafts have recently pegged Florida State running back Dalvin Cook as Indianapolis' first-round pick in the upcoming April draft. The thought is that current starter Frank Gore doesn't have many good years left, despite playing well since coming to the Colts in 2015. Dalvin Cook is not only a dynamic runner, but a strong threat in the passing game as a receiver out of the backfield. Indianapolis may have more pressing needs, but if a top 10 talent like Cook is available, the Colts have to give him serious consideration.
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During a recent on-air discussion regarding the New England Patriots and "Spygate," former star cornerback and current NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders opined that during Tony Dungy's stint in Indianapolis as head coach, the Colts stole opposing teams' defensive signals, theoretically giving Peyton Manning and company an unfair advantage. The truth is, this is done by every NFL team, and has been for decades. This is common knowledge, particularly among NFL coaches and players. This was a very weak attempt on Sanders' part to somehow justify questionable activities the New England Patriots have been accused of over the years.
Pro Bowl punter Pat McAfee recently retired at the age of 29 to pursue his interests in performing comedy and beginning a career in sports media. This was a shock to most Colts fans, but those on the inside knew McAfee had been considering this for at least a year prior to the official announcement. Vigilant Sports states that McAfee has signed on with Barstool Sports, with the agreement that the company will open an office in Indianapolis so McAfee can remain there full-time.
Pat McAfee will be missed on the field and in the locker room, but he is a wise man to identify what he wants out of life and what makes him happy, and then make sacrifices in order to achieve those goals. Not many people would walk away from $5.5 million to do something that might be a financial failure, but Pat McAfee is his own man. He is choosing happiness (and health) over money, which makes him a very shrewd individual.
With free agency and the NFL Draft looming, there will be plenty of Indianapolis Colts news to discuss in the coming weeks. The Colts have a franchise quarterback (Andrew Luck) and a new general manager, but there is a great deal more work to be done before the team has a chance to be a legitimate contender for the Lombardi Trophy.
[Featured Image by Jeff Roberson/AP Images]