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Colts Wednesday Mailbag: Will Andrew Luck's Surgery Hinder The Offense In 2017?

Intro: This Wednesday, mailbag readers inquire about what the Colts should be looking for in a new general manager, trading back in the draft and the working of the salary cap in 2017.


INDIANAPOLIS – Each week, readers of can submit their questions to have a chance of them being answered in our Wednesday or Saturday mailbag.

Here is the collection of Wednesday questions:Joshua B. (Little Point, IN)

Mr. Bowen,

Thrice now I thank you for answering our questions, and being here for us in our time of football need (ie Patriots in the Super Bowl yet again).

I have been reading these "mock drafts" sent in to the mailbag. I keep thinking to myself, "What kind of fairy dust was thrown in their faces?" Thinking that a player with a 1st round grade with most scouting sites in the 3rd round is a joke. And this has been going on since mid season. It has been nauseating. I came across this 7 round mock yesterday and think it must be the fairy dust source Only 2 of the 7 picks were defense lol. Anyway, my rant is over on to my question. Now that Mr. Irsay has made a move for the positive, and sorry all Manning isn't going to be working for the Colt's for a while. Who would you like to see as GM? What style of GM do you think would work out the best? I saw that Mr. Irsay is going to interview one or two of the Seahawks execs. I may not like the coach, but that team has been well run for a number of years. I like that idea. I'd like your opinion and I am sure you have many questions about it this week. Sorry this is a massive submision.

Bowen: When looking for the next general manager, the Colts must find an excellent talent evaluator. The Colts need a guy who has been a part of quality drafts and building a roster through that route. Talent evaluator is probably the most important quality desired. After that, it would be beneficial to have a guy who has handled some administrative duties (i.e. knowledge of the salary cap and some previous oversight of the 53-man roster). The biggest advantage the Colts are going to have in interviewing potential GMs is: this situation is the furthest thing from a "rebuild." The Colts have the quarterback in place. They have a lot of the key pieces on offense already under contract. The defense obviously needs upgrades, but resources are there through free agency and the draft to make those changes. What this GM is going to walk into is a much, much better situation than what Ryan Grigson had facing him in 2012.

John K. (Syracuse, NY)

Hello Kevin,

Quick Question, Now that Grigson is gone, would it not make sense to move on from Chuck Pagano also? Since we will be getting a new GM and they usually prefer a coach of their own, does this make Pagano a "lame-duck" coach for this upcoming year?

Your thoughts?

Bowen: Jim Irsay offered this when talking about bringing in a new general manager: "He is our coach for 2017. The new general manager will come in, evaluate our whole football program and we will see where we are at. Again, I hope Chuck can be our coach for many years to come. He is our coach this year. Going through this process and interviewing general managers and having whoever the new general manager is come in to work with me to evaluate where we are at will play a big role on that in the long-term. But for 2017, Chuck is our coach." I don't think it necessarily makes Pagano a "lame-duck" coach. Irsay has made it clear how important next year is for the Colts and the improvements that need to be made. If Pagano and the Colts show improvements, I see no reason why he wouldn't remain as head coach with a contract running through 2019.

John F. (Horseshoe Bay, TX)

Kevin, not going to go into the Ryan Grigson thing, but suffice it to say that I think a lot of fans are happy and many players are as well. My question is have you heard anything about some of the players in the East Weat Shrine game? I only saw a couple of reports about Trey Hendrickson out of Florida Atlantic being "unblockable" during many of the practice sessions and Joe Williams the RB out of Utah. What about RB McGuire from LA Lafayette, Wise, DE from Arkansas and Florida's Bryan Cox Jr? Didn't the Colts have a coach there? Wondering if you have heard anything about these guys. I know the Sernoir bowl will have a lot of talent too, but it goes to show how we can still get quality picks deeper in the draft.

Bowen: I haven't read too much on the East/West Shrine game. The Colts had around a handful of coaches down there coaching on both staffs. This will be something to watch when the draft rolls around. The Colts should have a better evaluation after getting a hands-on look at those East-West guys last week.

Chris M. (Sioux Falls, SD)

My question is free agency. Our cap space is pretty high this year. I've looked at the potential free agents. Now the unknown of them resigning with their respected teams is yet to be seen. What would you think about bringing in stephon Gilmore from Buffalo and latavius murray from oakland?. Murray could walk in and take some pass downs off gores hands. Also be more of a downhill runner. I've liked Murray since he came out of college. Gilmore has been a very productive corner for buffalo. Not so great this past year but maybe the Colts could grab him at a discount. I don't like the Colts drafting a rb until at least the 4th round. It's gotta be DE or corner in first round. Now Grigson is gone we don't have to worry about a non productive receiver with the 1st pick. Who would be you #1 free agent signing you would like to see the Colts sign if you had your choice?. Thanks for all the answers

Bowen: I'd shy away from signing a bigger name running back in free agency. It's time to get younger at that position and send your resources to the other side of the ball. I'd lean more towards a cornerback in free agency, like you mentioned. My top free agent signing would still involve an edge rusher. The Colts could lose all their outside linebacker starts and more than half of their sacks from 2016 if Erik Walden and Trent Cole aren't re-signed.

Zach C. (Fort Dodge, IA)

Hey Kevin,

Do you think that Ryan Kelly could win offensive rookie of the year?

Thanks for answering these questions!

Bowen: Um, I think Ezekiel Elliott or Dak Prescott might want to have word with you. A nice rookie year for Ryan Kelly, but he has no chance at the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Patrick R. (Marina Del Rey, CA)

West side California love at my horseshoe homies.

New gm ??????

Stay in house know the 49ers trying to steal our talent or go after a New England guy like nick caserio Thoughts??

Also draft time

Love the trade down idea. Has a double trade down ever been done say 15 to 22 and then 22-27 spot and get an extra 2 say 3rd round pick???? Seems we need bodies more than 1st round talent

I like Ryan Anderson out of Alabama as our late 20's pick if we can trade down

Who do u like late in the first round ?

Bowen: We talked about the GM earlier in the mailbag, so let's turn to your other questions. Yes, a "double trade down" has occurred before. My only issue with this is would you jeopardize losing out on a potential franchise defender? The Colts need a future mainstay on defense with that Round One pick, a guy who can be a part of that unit for the next decade. That would be my main issue with trading too far back in Round One. I'm sticking with pass rusher for what I like come Day One of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Zach M. (Rochester, NY)

Quick follow up question due to the breaking new.

With no current GM and being behind the eight ball in terms of timing who is going to be in charge of negotiating contracts for our upcoming free agents during the search for our new gm?

Thanks as always!

Bowen: Right now, Jimmy Raye III is the interim general manager. He's leading things down at the Senior Bowl for the Colts in a very important scouting week. I would not expect any negotiating between Raye and upcoming free agents though. And, honestly, this time of year isn't the most pressing for those talks. As long as the Colts have a GM in place in the next week or so, they will have more than a full month to sit down for negotiations with their free agents. I know some people are a bit concerned about the timing. But consider this, every GM candidate that Jim Irsay is likely to be interested in will be at the Senior Bowl this week, doing their own scouting. So the GM hire won't be behind the eight ball with that part of the offseason. Yes, some ground will need to be made up in analyzing the free agent picture. But I don't think it will greatly impact the negotiating window. Free agency starts on March 9. If you look at past years, the Colts rarely re-signed their own free agents too many days before the new league year began.

Damian W. (Richmond, VA)

Why are we not seeking for Andrew Luck draft classmate, former 2xs Pro Bowler, Alfred Morris of the Dallas Cowboys? We know we need a runningback, and within 4-5 years he have career of just about 5,000 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns. He's a playmaker and should be in our top 3 candidates and not sitting on a bench.

Bowen: I don't think acquiring a 28-year-old running back is the smartest move for the Colts this coming offseason. Yes, bring back Robert Turbin. But signing another running back to a long-term deal nearing the age of 30 doesn't solve a "potential future back" for Frank Gore. That's why I'm of the belief that a draft pick should be spent on a running back to groom behind Gore and alongside Turbin.

Nate D. (Flagstaff, AZ)

Mr. Bowen,

Thanks for letting my post be in the weekly mailbag and making all of this happen each and every week. The Colts are lacking a physical presence on the field and I have just the remedy for that. I have a quick 6-round mock (because the Colts don't have a 7th this year), and I would like to know what you think.

1 Marshon Lattimore- Tall, physical DB with a ball-hawking ability. The Colts are lacking a young cornerback to develop into a shutdown corner. Lattimore can start Day 1.

2 TJ Watt- a smaller version of JJ, (I have heard they have the same mentality) would be a great EDGE presence as he was for the UW Badgers. Although only having a little over a year of experience at OLB, TJ instantly produced with ferocity. His ceiling as a pass rusher is very high.

3 Alex Anzalone- a great ILB for Florida. Though he has been slightly injury prone, Anzalone would be a great presence for the front seven. He can drop into coverage and stop the run-both of which the Colts have been lacking.

4 Brian Hill- Hill runs with speed and agility to get from point A to point B. Has a similar style of running as Jamaal Charles. Would be a great late round running back for the Colts.

4 (Comp. Pick) Deatrich Wise Jr.- a large EDGE defender has been tearing it up in front of scouts this weekend. He can either play with his hand in the dirt or standing up. This would be another pick to bolster the pass rush.

5 Jake Butt TE- after suffering an ACL tear at the end of the year, the hopes of Butt being drafted high have fell. A big bodied athlete known for outstanding leadership, blocking, and reliable catching, Butt can fill in a position of need if Allen ends up going anywhere after this coming season.

6 Nate Gerry- a hammer on the back end of the defense, Gerry makes Nebraskas defense a punishing one. Known for being a hard hitting safety, Gerry can be an instant starter on ST and possibly contribute on defense.

Bowen: You go with a very interesting selection in Lattimore. The Ohio State defensive backs are starting to garner a good amount of attention in the first half of Round One. You do throw in a fourth-round compensatory pick. That's something to keep an eye on as spring gets closer to see where exactly the Colts get an extra draft selection. The Colts should be in the running for a decent pick via the compensatory route. If they can get a fourth or fifth rounder, that would be terrific. Remember, compensatory picks can now be traded, too.

Will V. (Zionsville, IN)

Hi Kevin,

I had a couple questions. You mentioned that Colts could find a steal in the middle of the draft for running back. What do you think of Tarik Cohen. I know he's small, but he put up good numbers and reminds me of Darren Sproles. Has he declared for the draft? Or is he going for free agent market? He's from a smaller school (Carolina A & T) so, I don't know his plans for the NFL. Also, what do you think of Jourdan Lewis out of Michigan and Carl Lawson out of Auburn?

Bowen: A Darren Sproles' type option for the Colts is always something I'm a fan of, especially when you have runners like Frank Gore/Robert Turbin. I know absolutely nothing about this guy and his draft projection. I don't see Lewis or Lawson being options for the Colts in Round One. The mocks I've seen have both of those guys going later than where the Colts are picking.

Shawn L. (Plymouth Meeting, PA)

Good day Kevin, this is my first time sending in a question, so thanks if you accept and place my question in the mailbag page. As a former player and coach and knowing how defense works, my main question would be, and one that I have not heard, is how do you feel about drafting a good NT, not that David Perry is not good, and I do like his play, however, if you get a player that will take up a couple of lineman you can free up your ILB's so that they can make plays. I believe there will be a few available around rounds 3, 4, or 5. What is your opinion on this? Colts fan since 1970.

Bowen: Shawn, happy to have you submitting questions. This is a question that I really don't have a good answer on. I certainly hear the points you make regarding a different nose tackle. It's something the Colts must sit down and evaluate this offseason. Has David Parry done enough, starting all 32 games the past two years, to make you think a change at nose tackle isn't necessary? Or, if the right situation arises, should the Colts go ahead and bring in a new starting nose tackle? I would not rule out the Colts going out and finding a nose tackle during the offseason. A lot will depend on the further evaluation of the defense and if the right guy is there in free agency or the draft.

Jeffrey K. (Colquitt, GA)

Hey Mr. Kevin Im really excited about the draft class this year and I wanna know what you think of my new mock draft and free agent pickups?

Round 1.Takk McKinley OLB

Round 2.Raekwon McMillan MLB

Round 3.Cordrea Tankersly CB

Round 4.Carrol Phillips OLB

Round 5.Jamal Carter SS

Round 6.Joe Mixon RB

Round 7.Jermaine Grace MLB

Free Agency we take:

Dontari Poe NT

Zac Brown MLB

Stephon Gilmore

We would have an all star defense but let me know what you think

Thanks for your time Mr.Kevin

Bowen: I think a lot of people would sign up for this off-season haul. I would push running back slightly higher on my board than where you have it slotted.

Thomas K. (Rosenheim, Germany)

Hi Kevin!

Greetings from one of your European outposts and thank you for the effort you put into this mailbag! I have two questions I'd like to ask you:

  1. I am a little concerned about Andrew Luck's shoulder operation. While I have no doubt that he will be recovered until Preseason, I am wondering how much this will affect his chemistry with our Receivers and Tight Ends. When he is expected to be out several months, do you think that there will be enough time to practice their gameplays or that they might not be entirely ready for the beginning of the next season?
  1. I am sometimes getting a bit annoyed when I hear or read that the Colts wanted to improve their O-line last draft, but the results this season were disappointing and they should draft an O-liner in the first rounds to improve that. I think the O-line just needed some time to work, especially with a lot of rookies and changing starters. And in the last couple of games you could clearly see that it has improved a lot. While one OL pick in the rounds 4-7 makes sense, I highly disagree that this should be a pick in the first rounds. I see round 1 and 2 reserved for OLB and CB and another LB or RB in round 3. This could be varied of course, if some great talent is still on the board, but what do you think?

Thank you for your time. Go Colts!

Bowen: 1. This is a very legitimate concern. Anytime a quarterback has surgery on his right shoulder it can't be taken lightly. Now, all signs point to Luck to being fully healthy for 2017, but your worry is something to definitely consider. It will be interesting to see how much (if any at all) Luck is limited come the team's offseason program, which typically runs mid-April-to-mid-June. The "good news" for Luck is that the Colts won't be installing a new offense or dealing with a massive overhaul in offensive personnel at the pass catching positions this offseason. The playbook and weapons for Luck should be the same going into 2017. So that acclimation period won't be anywhere near as drastic as it was last year. 2. This is pretty much my exact thinking. If I could sign up for a Joe Haeg-clone in Round Five, that would suffice my offensive line appetite for 2017. It's time to let these young guys grow together and see if the arrow continues to point up on the offensive line.

Anthony O. (Springfield, MO)

Hey Kevin,

Hope all is well and the offseason is treating you well. So I just wanted to ask you about how cap space and signings work, just for a better understanding of it all. The Colts have around $55m in cap space this offseason from what I read on the NFL app, if they sign a big free agent name to say a 3 year 27m deal, is it the 9m average that comes out of the 55 total and they're left with 46m to work with? And I'm guessing any up front money hits the total as well? Thanks for your time in doing what you do Kevin.

Bowen: Whatever the first year guarantee is, that's what comes out of the salary cap. So if Player A has $7 million in guarantees for 2017, then that is subtracted out of the overall cap space for that year. It's all about contract structure.

Rob C. (Hamilton, Ontario)

After viewing a lot of the games, you can't help but notice that the Colts O-Line was extremely weak. There was very little protection for Luck to get the ball down the field. Will O-Line players be a primary focus in the 2017 draft?

Bowen: I really don't think adding a bunch of personnel in the offensive trenches is a major need this offseason. What the Colts are missing is some development from their youngsters and just some general continuity. Atlanta had the same starting offensive line in every game this season. That's a major reason why the Falcons had the No. 2 offense in the NFL The Colts ran out seven different line combinations. The Colts need to let their younger guys work together and hopefully the continuity improves drastically in 2017.

T.J. W. (Los Angeles)

Unless cook or fournette are there then no, that's pretty obvious. Round 2 will still have so much Defensive talent RBs won't be very high on our board, assuming McCaffrey is not there. Round 3 is interesting becuz we could use another defender corners are 4 rounds deep it would be the perfect round for 1. Idk if the guys at RB I want will make it to round 4 tho. Joe Mixon, jamal Williams and Kareem hunt I think will all go in round 3. Do you think we could trade both 4s to move back up into the third again and get 3 defenders and a running back?

Bowen: If the Colts do receive an extra compensatory pick, they could make a move involving that pick to trade up. This scenario is something I could get behind.

Chase G. (West Lafayette, IN)

Hey Kevin first time question here, I see all the draft questions piling up so I thought I'd put mine out there. I believe we should focus on defense round 1 then get a rb later on in the draft. I have a friend who is a Texas Longhorns fan who thinks we should get D'onta Foreman. I have not seen him in the draft conversations at all even though he had an incredible season. What do you think about him and do you think he'd be a good pick up with a 2nd round pick if he falls there. Thanks!

Bowen: Foreman is a load. Easily one of the most imposing power backs at 230 pounds, Foreman's breakout year has him as an intriguing running back prospect. If you are looking long-term at running back a player with Foreman's style makes sense. Now, if you are thinking immediately for 2017, wouldn't more of a speed back make sense? That comes from imagining about a change of pace option for Frank Gore. In my world, I could wait one more round on a running back (to the third or the fourth). I just think the defensive talent has to be addressed with several high picks.

Michael R. (Indianapolis)

I know we have more pressing needs on defense, and we have competent TE now, do you think we should make a run to acquire Jimmy Graham on the feee agent market?

Bowen: I do not. At all. Tight end is arguably the deepest position on the Colts roster. Resources must be concentrated elsewhere in free agency and the draft (after bringing back Jack Doyle). You can't afford to just throw money at a position that is nowhere near the need of the ones on defense.

Seth S. (Portland, IN)

With so many issues on the defense I believe that the Colts need to be looking at something on the defense in the upcoming draft. After seeing some of the mock drafts that have come out, they have us take a LB or RB. I do not feel like a RB is worth a 1st this year. There is plenty of quality at that position in this draft. What are your thoughts on Peppers from Michigan? He can really play 3 or 4 different positions with safety being his best. If he is there when we draft do you think he is worth that high of a pick?

Bowen: It seems like each week we get a Jabril Peppers question. His draft outlook is going to be heavily scrutinized. Why? Because he was a dynamic college talent, that doesn't have a crystal clear position at the NFL level. I understand the intrigue with Peppers and the versatility that he can potentially bring on Sunday's. However, I just don't see him being worthy of a top half of the first-round pick for the Colts. I don't see the immediate fit that merits a pick at No. 14 or 15 overall.

The analysis from those producing content on does not necessarily represent the thoughts of the Indianapolis Colts organization. Any conjecture, analysis or opinions formed by content creators is not based on inside knowledge gained from team officials, players or staff.*

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