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Contract Speculation, Breakdown (& Trades): Indianapolis Colts

Contract Speculation, Breakdown (& Trades): Indianapolis Colts

By: Matt “TheJerk” Morrison (@DynastyJerk)

A new month brings a new division to discuss. First, I want to list some breaking news…

  • Greg Ward and Boston Scott have both been tagged under their ERFA rules. Both will be playing for the Eagles in 2021 with similar salaries to 2020.
  • Kyle Rudolph was released by the Vikings on March 2. This move doesn’t mean a whole lot for Rudolph owners (as there aren’t many of them). Instead, this paves the way for Irv Smith to become the starting and most productive tight end for Minnesota.

Up until this point, I have only written about NFC teams. Well, in March we are going to talk about the AFC South, and we’re going to start with the team that finished tied with the best record. They made the 2020 playoffs thanks to the seventh playoff spot. Of course I am talking about the Colts. Here is a table that shows the entire division…

RecordSeason OutcomeNotable Free Agents
Titans11-5Eliminated, AFC Wild Card3
Colts11-5Eliminated, AFC Wild Card7
Texans4-12Eliminated, Regular Season1
Jaguars1-15Eliminated, 1st Overall Pick5

Overall, this is a pretty typical division. Two teams dominated the season while two others had extremely disappointing years. We will get to the other three teams this month, but today I want to focus on the Colts. Let’s get started because there is a lot to talk about.

Contract Speculation

The Colts have seven free agents that should/could be rostered in Dynasty Owner leagues. As always, I need to mention that this is a subjective metric that I am using to define each player as “rosterable.”

(If at any time you think that I missed an important free agent from a certain team, let me know, and I’ll be sure to give a quick speculation or breakdown in one of my upcoming articles.)

The free agents list includes…

PlayerStatusPrevious ContractPercent Rostered in DO
Philip RiversRetired$25,000,000/year50.5
Jacoby BrissettUFA$15,000,000/year1.0
T.Y. HiltonUFA$13,000,000/year59.8
Trey BurtonUFA$910,000/year91.8
Marlon MackUFA$704,912/year100.0
Zach PascalRFA$660,000/year95.9
Mo Alie-CoxERFA$660,000/year88.7

I’m going to start including some “mock” trades or examples of trades that I feel is fair value. These trades that I’m going to propose are obviously not taking individual teams in mind and should not be completed based solely on my opinion. These examples should be used as a starting point for trade discussions with leaguemates, and my attempt is to find equal value for both parties. With that disclaimer out of the way, let’s talk free agents…

I included Rivers on here solely as a reminder to Owners that he has, in fact, retired. He is currently owned in half of Dynasty Owner leagues. I chalk that up to the fact that almost everyone is waiting until the “free drop period” so he will be able to be dropped for no charge. That is a smart decision as there’s no reason to waste Dynasty Dollars to free up room. This goes without saying, but Rivers should be dropped in every league once the free drop period opens.

Trade Advice: None. Rivers should not be traded for as he has retired.

Speaking of quarterbacks, where do we think Jacoby Brissett will land? I pose the question this way because I think it’s very unlikely Jacoby returns to the Colts in 2021. Carson Wentz was traded to the Colts on February 18th, 2021. I’m going to talk more about Wentz later, but I at least wanted to mention this trade. This move puts Wentz in line to be the starting quarterback in Week 1. If Brissett does defy the odds and return to Indy, he will no doubt be a backup at least to start the season. That being said, Jacoby is an above average quarterback in this league, and he is an above average backup quarterback. I find it hard to believe he will make more than his expiring contract ($15,000,000/year).

Trade Advice: If you are convinced Brissett will get another chance as a starter in the NFL, I still wouldn’t pay anything to acquire him. I only see a handful of NFL teams that would be interested in him. (Saints, Bears, Broncos, Patriots)  I would say it’s a stretch to think he is number one on any of their lists, but hey, if the contract is cheap enough, it just may happen)  You won’t need a trade to pull off this deal. He’s available in 99% of leagues.

T.Y. Hilton was a positional killer last year if you were unfortunate enough to own him. I owned him in my paid league, and thankfully I cut ties with him early enough to still win a title. With a “Calculated Market Value” of 10.1 million dollars per year (according to Spotrac), Hilton’s value will be determined by where he signs. The optimist in me wants to believe that he can still succeed in the right offense with receiving weapons around him. I believe T.Y. could thrive as a number two wide receiver on a new team. I also believe that Indianapolis may be one of the worst teams he could sign with. In the two years since Andrew Luck’s retirement, Hilton has averaged only 50.5 yards per game. Maybe you believe Hilton stays in Indy and Wentz will return him to his 2013 – 2016 form. It’s possible, but I’m not betting on it.

Trade Advice:  Hilton is available in 40% of leagues so be sure to check the free agent auction prior to concocting a trade offer. [2021 3rd for T.Y Hilton]

Trey Burton had a subpar 2020 season though the blame can’t be placed solely on him. He missed five games and was only targeted 47 times the whole season. (That ranks 27th among tight ends)  He also rushed twice for two touchdowns, and that salvaged a few of his weeks. Any attempt to trade for Burton is going to a risky business. Yes, he is on a dirt-cheap contract ($910,000), but it will be going up. That coupled with the fact that we don’t know if Burton will be going to a team with a tight end committee or if he would even be the primary receiving tight end.

Trade Advice:  I’d hold off on any trade offers until his contract situation is figured out. At this point, I don’t think I’d even part with a late 2021 3rd unless I was very desperate at the position.

I’m going to skip over Zach Pascal and Mo-Alie-Cox for this article as their situations are almost too uncertain to speculate on. Neither of them are an unrestricted free agent. This opens the door for several different scenarios to play out. I will keep everyone updated as news comes in about both of them.

The player I’m most excited to talk about is Marlon Mack. It may be too early to claim this, but I’m going to do it anyway. Mack is going to be the steal of the year. Redraft, Keeper, Dynasty, Dynasty Owner; it doesn’t matter…I want him on my team. Mack has been virtually forgotten about in fantasy football, and it’s really a perfect storm of events. First up, you have the fact that he tore his Achilles Tendon in the first game of the 2020 season. Nothing is certain, but Mack seemed in line to lead the Colts backfield in touches had he stayed healthy. Second, the rise of Jonathan Taylor in the second half of the season helped a lot of people to downplay the role that Mack had prior to injury. Is it possible that Taylor was going to take the majority of the carries away from Mack throughout the season? It is, and it may have even been likely. The point is that Taylor’s dominance does not take away the fact that Mack is a very capable back, and he has been doing it for longer. If we look at Mack’s sophomore and junior season in the NFL, this is what we find:  He averaged 1,092 yards/season, 236 touches/season, and nine touchdowns/season. Granted, his receptions are down as he is not a receiving back. But as far as a “pure runner” goes, he is above average. He’s better than above average. He’s good. Now, here is the reason I say, “he will be the steal of the year.”  In redraft leagues, we already know he’s going to fall further than he should. His season long injury coupled with the idea that he is most likely changing teams. That’s not exactly the recipe for high tier draft picks. When we talk about Dynasty Owners though, the value increases. Not only is Mack going to fall in DO drafts, but he will be on a very cheap contract. His injury is obviously terrible, and no one would wish it on any player, but it’s a fact that he will make less money because of it. I project Mack to be in the 3 to 4 million dollars per year range. This is just a fraction of what he would have made had he stayed healthy. Think about it this way… Mack was the starter on his team coming into the 2020 season, and his ADP was 113. Yes, Taylor was a known issue for Mack’s Owners, but he was still the starter. Where do you think his ADP is going to fall in 2021 when he’s on a new contract, fresh off an injury and on a new team? I obviously can’t answer all of these questions until his place of employment is known, but if you’re like me, you see these questions as an opportunity to turn a profit.

Trade Advice:  Don’t be too eager when dealing with the Mack Owner. We all know that overexcitement about a potential trade will drive the price up. Play it cool, and simply ask what they think of Mack coming into 2021 and what it would take to acquire him. Me? I would be willing to give a mid to late 2021 2nd. I think the reward outweighs the risk. This could be a prime player to get prior to the opening of free agency. I can guarantee you that his value will multiply if he signs with the Steelers, Jets or Cardinals (assuming Drake is not resigned). Strike now. I will be putting out trades for Mack myself.

Contract Breakdown

I was a little long winded in my Speculation section, but we did have a lot of players to talk about. I’ll keep this Breakdown section shorter than usual. And I suppose I should address the elephant in the room. His name is Carson Wentz…

Some of you already know how I feel about Wentz. To sum it up…he is a disaster as far as value is concerned. No quarterback that makes over 30 million dollars per year had less fantasy points/game in 2020 than Wentz. I don’t need to fully break down his stats compared to similar salaried players because last year he was the worst in almost every category. What I do want to say is this…Wentz move to Indy can only help him. It’s clear that he was “beat down” in Philly and that he wanted a change of scenery. Yes, he should have a better 2021, but even if he does, is it going to be good enough to justify a $32,000,000 cap hit? The answer could be “yes”, but it’s likely going to be “no”. By now I think most everyone is getting the theme. “TheJerk hates large salaries.”  Yes and no. I see the value in some large contracts if the numbers make sense and the production is there. I loved Rodgers’ value last year. I loved Russ Wilson’s value last year. I loved Tyreek Hill’s value last year. The reason is because they were top tier fantasy producers. What I don’t love is top level money mixed with middle of the road production. That is how we get upside down as Owners and have to start considering Amnesty Provisions. Wentz fits the mold for that description. He couldn’t even be described as middle of the road. He was, blatantly, below average. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that he has a below average receiving core returning in 2021. The return of Parris Campbell should help, but the receiving core as a whole would still rank in the lower third.

Trade Advice:  I can’t justify proposing a trade for Wentz. On the contrary, I would be willing to trade him for literally anything if one of my league mates believed in a Colts’ comeback.

I don’t mean to sound negative because that’s not the type of person that I am. But I’m trying to get my point across that Wentz has no business being on a roster in a “value driven dynasty format.”

Thank you for reading and be sure to watch the video that relates to this article. Next week we’ll be talking about the team that won the AFC South…the Tennessee Titans. Please follow us on Twitter @Dynasty_Owner and subscribe to Dynasty Owner on YouTube. Take care and be safe.

TheJerk

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