New Indianapolis Colts‘ general manager Chris Ballard released D’Qwell Jackson Thursday. If Ballard willingly got rid of the team’s most productive defensive player to save money, people should expect more changes to come.
By cutting Jackson, Ballard saved the Colts $5.5 million in cap space heading into the 2017 offseason. He also had other reasons for dismissing the veteran. Jackson is 33 years old, saw a dip in his overall production in 2016, and was suspended for the final four games of the season.
Even with his negatives, Jackson still produced solid results on the defensive side of the ball. However, Ballard has continuously stated his desire to make the Colts’ roster younger. He certainly did that by cutting Jackson.
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Ballard’s move signals to everyone in the organization that the new general manager wants to get younger and will sacrifice production to do so. Again, Jackson was the Colts’ most productive defensive player, and Ballard still let him go.
With Ballard so willing to part with Jackson, there is a strong possibility more Colts will become cap casualties. The team still has a handful of aging veterans on their roster.
Defensive lineman Arthur Jones quickly comes to mind when talking about cap casualties. He turns 30 years old this summer and is due over $7 million is 2016. They would save over $5 million in cap space by releasing him.
Jones has largely been inconsistent since signing with the Colts in 2013 and has suffered numerous injuries. The NFL also suspended him the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
Another guy who could be released in cornerback Patrick Robinson. He signed with the Colts last offseason to be the team’s No. 2 cornerback. Unfortunately, they did not get the production they had expected when signing him.
Robinson will be 30 years old in September. He is due $4.5 million this season. The team would save $2.5 million this year by cutting him. While they do not save much by cutting him, Ballard make stick to his youth agenda and cut the veteran anyway.
Ballard wants to get younger, but cutting three established starters to accomplish the goal is not a great idea.
Overall, Ballard sent a pretty clear message to everyone in the organization by cutting Jackson. He wants the roster to be younger and is willing to cut serviceable veterans to do so. It will be interesting to see what happens next as he continues to evaluate the Colts’ football department.