Originally Posted by Texian
You're confusing worship with recognizing the reality of the situation. Part of that reality based thinking is recognizing the Texans don't have the cash to replace with Wade Smith, Earl Mitchell and Joe Mays with equal or better talent. What you also fail to recognize is the COLTS DO have the cash to replace some of their lost starters with equal or better talent.
Overall, I agree with the vast majority of your posts. I was tracking with you on this discussion until your competitive advantage comment.
There are some similarities between the Colts' 2011 season and the Texans 2013 season. Both teams crashed with 2-14 seasons resulting in the #1 pick in the draft. Both teams had higher salaried players that missed time due to injuries. Both teams jettisoned their head coaches to the ranks of NFL coordinators.
In 2012, the Colts carried a historic amount, $38M, of "dead money" on the cap and essentially had to field a competitive team with approx. $82M. The Colts, despite carrying the weight of all that "dead money", fielded a team that finished 11-5 in 2012. Why? It is not necessarily how much you invest but how you invest it.
The Colts received valuable contributions from former members of the CFL and AFL. The Colts fielded a team with nine rookies and 33 players with three-or-fewer years of NFL service. The Colts resurgence wasn’t the result of a salary cap “gold rush”. Their lack of cap space certainly wasn’t an obstacle to gaining a competitive edge. Their success was a result of solid coaching, excellent scouting, and arguably the best draft class in franchise history. That 2011 Colts roster experienced a 70% turnover and the coaching staff molded a very young team into a well-prepared, cohesive, and competitive franchise.
The Colts parlayed some of their cap savings onto their offensive line during free agency prior to the 2013 season. It didn't work out as well as they hoped as the Colts OL (according to Pro Football Focus) ranked 24th in the league. PFF ranked the Texans OL 20th in the league.
The Colts are getting a heck of a lot more mileage from their draft picks and under-the-radar free agent signings than their “premium” free agent signings. The Colts would be wise to take a “grow into the cap” approach with their younger talent coupled with smart free agency augmentation, rather than dumping a bunch of money on over-priced veterans.
In my opinion, the Colts had the better offseason when they had little to no money to spend on premium free agents. I believe the team’s best acquisitions didn’t reflect in the actual salary cap – hiring a new coaching staff.
The Colts went from 2-14 in 2011 to 11-5 in 2012 with minimal cap space. The Texans can do the same.