The 2023 offseason is the most important in Chris Ballard’s tenure as general manager of the Indianapolis Colts.
Every decision should be made with critical thought and care, including the choices he makes when it comes to the salary cap. The Colts are in solid standing with the salary cap but could afford to create some space.
We also took a look at the biggest salary-cap hits on the roster entering the offseason.
Here are four potential cap casualties for the Colts in 2023:
QB Matt Ryan
Justin Casterline/Getty Images
Much has been said about quarterback Matt Ryan and his polarizing 2022 season. With 38 sacks, 15 fumbles, and nearly as many interceptions as touchdowns, Ryan’s tenure doesn’t bode well for keeping him.
He has a $35.2 million 2023 cap hit if kept on the roster, but relief is in sight. The Colts will only incur an $18 million dead cap hit if he is released.
Probably won't see Matt Ryan play the rest of the year. He's gone from unquestioned QB1 to benched, back to starter, and now to 3rd on depth chart and inactive.
If Colts release him after the year, he counts $18m against the cap in 2023.
If he stays = $35m against the cap.
— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) December 23, 2022
QB Nick Foles
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
When quarterback Nick Foles joined the Colts, it was the chance to reunite with Frank Reich. By Week 10, Reich was gone, and by Week 16, Foles was thrust into the spotlight due to poor quarterback play from Matt Ryan. It also didn’t last long due to his poor play and an injury suffered in Week 17.
With the team presumably drafting a quarterback this offseason, cutting Foles could be possible (freeing up $2.1 million in cap space) if they view him as something other than a viable bridge quarterback.
C Ryan Kelly
Robert Scheer-USA TODAY Sports
After seven seasons with the Colts, center Ryan Kelly’s time could be coming to an end. Like much of the offensive line, Kelly did not have his best year. Dating to 2021, Danny Pinter has played well when stepping in for the veteran.
Looking ahead, Kelly has a $12.3 million 2023 cap hit but only a $4.5 million dead money hit if cut, making him a prime candidate. The issue then would become who replaces Kelly at a vital position.
— Dave Griffiths (@DaveG_Sports) September 19, 2022
CB Kenny Moore II
AP Photo/Joshua Bessex
Affectionally known as “lightning in a bottle” by former coach Frank Reich, cornerback Kenny Moore II has been the heartbeat of the Colts’ secondary since 2017. After a stellar 2021 season, Moore felt he should be paid like the elite talent levels across the NFL and briefly held out from joining the team in camp.
Unfortunately, injuries and sub-par play derailed Moore’s campaign for a more significant contract. His future with the team is now up in the air, and with no dead money tied to him in 2023, his days as a Colt may be numbered.