On Wednesday, Gary Davenport of Bleacher Report posted a list of each NFL team’s best and worst contracts. It is hard to argue with the Indianapolis Colts’ selections:
“Best Contract: Offensive Tackle Le’Raven Clark—4 years, $3.1 million (through 2019)
As Stephen Holder reported for the Indianapolis Star, left tackle Anthony Castonzo thinks batterymate Le’Raven Clark has grown a great deal entering his second NFL season.
“At this point (for Clark), it’s not ‘Which way am I going?’” Castonzo said. “…In terms of the playbook, he’s got that. Now it’s perfecting the technique, which is a good place to be at.”
By no stretch is Clark an elite tackle, but in three starts on the right side at the end of last season he held his own.
Starting tackles don’t come this cheaply very often.“
Considering Clark might be the Colts’ answer at right tackle for the next several years, getting him for $775K per year until 2020 is a bargain. Clark was the Colts’ third-round pick in 2016, and he wound up starting the final three game of the Colts’ season. He was downright awful in the preseason, so the growth that he showed in four months was very encouraging. Offensive line coach Joe Philbin should get a large amount of the credit for helping mold Clark into a startable NFL lineman. Clark should continue to get even better, as he is projected to be the team’s starting right tackle entering training camp.
“Worst Contract: Linebacker Jabaal Sheard—3 years, $25.5 million (through 2019)
Frankly, there aren’t that many bad deals on the Colts’roster. Even the massive $87 million in guarantees the Colts gave quarterback Andrew Luck is…
Well it’s what one has to pay Andrew Luck in today’s NFL.
In that respect it feels nit-picky to go after the $8.5 million annually that the Colts gave edge-rusher Jabaal Sheard. The Colts badly needed an upgrade in that regard and had the cap space to burn.
That’s not an outrageous sum of money for a second-tier pass-rusher.
However, the second-tier may be Sheard’s ceiling, as he’s never amassed even nine sacks in a season.
The floor is either disappearing, as he did for stretches early last season for the Patriots, or riding the pine—as he did for said Pats after the disappearing.
Bill Belichick doesn’t like magic tricks.“
Davenport is right about the fact that the Colts don’t really have many (if any) bad contracts. Sheard’s contract, for example, has all of the dead money ($9.5 million) coming out in 2017. So, the Colts could cut Sheard with no penalty after this season. Regardless, Davenport had to make a selection, and Sheard’s deal is a decent pick considering the Colts basically drafted his clone this year in third-round pick Tarell Basham.
However, the pass-rush was the Colts’ biggest need to fill this offseason, and after not acquiring the likes of Melvin Ingram or Nick Perry, they had to do something. Plus, like Davenport mentioned, they had loads of salary cap space at the time. In free agency, you have to spend big to acquire worthwhile talent. It’s just the nature of the beast.
If Sheard’s deal is the worst one of the Colts’ books, I think everybody can live with that.