Projected salary cap hits for Colts 2024 NFL draft picks

In the coming weeks, the Colts will officially sign the members of their 2024 draft class to their rookie contracts. All rookie contracts are for four years, but the first-round picks have a fifth-year option that the team can either exercise or decline down the road.

Like every other contract that the Colts have on the books for 2024, the rookie deals are going to impact the salary cap. So when we see that the Colts have $28.41 million in cap space, while that may be what they have available on paper, that isn’t what they have available to spend because that figure doesn’t account for the incoming draft class.

Knowing that each year there will be an increase in total contract value and that, especailly for first and second-round picks, larger portions of those deals are becoming guaranteed, Over the Cap was able to project what each rookie’s cap hit will be in 2024.

It’s important to note that these figures are not the total contract value or even what the players will be earning in 2024. Instead, it is what their salary cap impact will be, which can be lower than the average annual value of the contract with teams’ pro-rating the cap impact from signing bonuses over the life of the deal or choosing to backload contracts in order to provide cap relief in the current year.

Laiatu Latu: $3.096 million
Adonai Mitchell: $1.34 million
Matt Goncalves: $1.061 million
Tanor Bortolini: $989,967
Anthony Gould: $883,167
Jaylon Carlies: $879,120
Jaylin Simpson: $869,254
Micah Abraham: $838,489
Jonah Laulu: $821,130

The total cap number for the Colts’ rookie class is $10.78 million. However, in terms of actual salary cap impact on the 2024 season, the Colts’ effective cap number for these nine players is $3.62 million.

The reason being, the top 51 players in contract value currently make up the Colts $28.41 million cap figure. Adding these rookies to the books once their deals are signed will replace those on the back end of the roster, likely earning league minimum deals of $795,000.

So the Colts aren’t adding $3.096 million to their 2024 salary cap once they sign Latu. It’ll actually be $2.3 million because $795,000 is already being accounted for by another player that Latu will replace as a top 51 contract.

In terms of what the Colts actually have to spend if they want to explore free agency, something that GM Chris Ballard did say they would do their due diligence with as there are still some good players out there, their actual available cap space is $24.78 million once accounting for the draft class. This is the fifth-most in the NFL.

It’s also important to note that assembling the eventual practice squad will take up some cap space. And with only the top 51 contracts being accounted for, there are, of course, 53 players on the roster–so once the official roster is constructed, the cap hits for two other players will be added to the books. Each team also wants to leave themselves with in-season reserves so they can make additions and have space for gameday elevations.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire