When will the Colts finally start making money?
The Indianapolis Colts have made a habit of failing to make a profit, and this season the franchise is expected to make about $15 million less than it did in 2016.
That means the Colts are on track to have $16.5 million in cap space.
That would be about $2 million less in salary cap space than the 2016-17 team, which made just over $33 million in payroll.
But, if the Colts can continue to make more money with the same amount of salary cap, they would have $26.8 million in total cap space and $31 million in salary space.
That would put the Colts in position to have nearly $50 million in new spending.
That’s a significant amount of money to add to the cap, but the team is still expected to spend more than $70 million on the salary cap next season.
So, what can the Colts do to try and make up some of that difference?
One possible avenue the team could pursue would be to move up the salary-cap priority list.
The Colts are currently at No. 18, which would put them in the position to trade down to No. 1, if they wanted to do so.
In that case, the Colts could try to get away from the $50-million salary-gap and look to add a player to the roster who would bring in $50,000 in salary, $5,000 more in cap relief and more than double their current $3.5-million cap hit.
Another option would be for the Colts to try to improve their depth by trading for an offensive lineman.
The team has already made some moves in that area, trading for defensive lineman Cameron Fleming, who would add about $3 million in depth to the offensive line.
The move would free up a couple of spots in the cap for the team to spend on free agents, but it would also likely push them toward making more spending in the draft.
Another possibility would be a new contract for starting quarterback Andrew Luck, which has been a contentious issue in recent years.
The franchise could try a two-year extension, which gives the franchise a little more flexibility in what they can spend on players.
In general, however, it is unlikely that the Colts will be able to make any major moves until they are within the first four rounds of the NFL draft.
There are plenty of teams that are likely to be in position for the franchise to trade up to the No. 5 spot in the 2018 NFL draft, and that would probably mean the team would have to give up some cap relief to move into the top five.