Indianapolis Colts’ general manager Ryan Grigson has received harsh criticism this week for not building a mediocre team around quarterback Andrew Luck. Friday, Grigson tried to defend himself.
In a radio interview on the Jay Mohr Sports Show, Grigson mentioned he felt handcuffed by Luck’s enormous contract. Supposedly, Luck’s contract is affecting the deals Grigson can make on the defensive side of the ball.
Grigson is right in the fact Luck’s six-year, $140 million contract takes out a large chunk of the Colts’ salary cap space. However, this is still a weak excuse for him to make.
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Top NFL teams have shown that a general manager can build a defense even when the quarterback occupies a huge portion of the salary cap.
The Denver Broncos built a defensive juggernaut, and they gave Peyton Manning a five-year, $100 million deal. The Seattle Seahawks have a Top 5 defense, and quarterback Russell Wilson averages $21.9 million per year.
Obviously, these teams did some creative things to make those contracts as cap-friendly as possible. The Colts did their best to do the same thing with Luck this offseason.
It is clear Grigson is not focusing his blame in the right area. Instead of using Luck’s contract as an excuse, Grigson should be pointing the finger at himself for not building a defense.
Grigson has history of making poor draft decisions on defensive players.
- Drafted 4-3 defensive end Bjoern Werner (2013) to be a 3-4 outside linebacker. Also, Werner is no longer in NFL.
- Drafted outside linebacker Jonathan Newsome (2014) who is no longer on the team
- Drafted cornerback D’Joun Smith (2015) who is no longer on the team
Also, Grigson whiffed on a lot of defensive free agent signings and offseason acquisitions.
- Signed LaRon Landry to a four-year, $24 million deal (No longer with team).
- Signed Trent Cole to a two-year, $16 million deal (Inconsistent and currently on IR)
- Signed Nate Irving to a three-year, $7.25 million deal (Cut before 2016 season)
- Traded a sixth round pick for Sio Moore (Cut on October 4, 2016)
- Did not re-sign Antoine Bethea or Jerrell Freeman
The sad part is these are only his key defensive mistakes. He has a plethora of well-documented issues offensively too. Somehow, Grigson is still in charge of the Colts’ personnel decisions even with all of these failures.
Grigson can blame Luck’s contract for his inability to build a defense. However, the facts overwhelmingly show he is the real cause for the Colts’ inept defense this year and in the past
If the franchise wants to see any positive change defensively, one of two things needs to happen before the end of this season. Either (1) Grigson drastically improves his decision-making on player personnel or (2) Jim Irsay fires Grigson.
If things continue to stay the same, the Colts will be right back in this same situation next year.