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Timing of Satele cut is curious and risky

The Colts released starting center Samson Satele yesterday. It's a move that makes perfect football and financial sense, but a risk in the timing department.
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

You can find me on Twitter a lot, talking football and particularly interacting with other Colts fans. It’s something I very much enjoy doing and always love ‘meeting’ new people.

Several great Colts fans told me yesterday that the team has a plan for a new starting center and it’s most likely a free agent. This makes perfect sense at face value; Khaled Holmes played all of 12 snaps last season, and Ryan Grigson is on record with his preference that rookie/young linemen not start.

Here’s where things get murky, though. It is almost certain that the Colts have a free agent target in mind to take over after cutting Samson Satele. Teams are able to start talking to free agents this Saturday, leading up to the market opening next Tuesday at 4:00 pm ET.

What’s the problem? I completely agree with the decision to cut Satele based on extremely poor play the past two seasons. Let’s not even mention that he would have counted nearly $5 million against the salary cap this season.

The problem is this…I really question the timing of the move. To illustrate my point, it’s time for some role playing!

Let’s set the scene. You’re the agent for the Colts likely target at center. It’s your job to not only obtain the best possible offer you can from Indy, but also get great offers from every single other team possible for your client.

The Colts place a call to start talking parameters of a deal. Being a savvy agent, you ask for the world. Let’s face it; Ryan Grigson hasn’t exactly been Scrooge-like with his other free agent deals. The man throws the money around like he’s got a fever, and the only prescription is spending that cash money!

What are the Colts going to tell you? Nah, you’re asking too much. We’ll just start Holmes. To which you would likely reply with something that resembles one of the great lines from Goodfellas: ‘Eff’ you, pay my guy! You know they don’t have a leg to stand on, because they sure as hell won’t start a guy that played all of twelve snaps in 2013 at such a pivotal spot on the offensive line.

The Colts have no leverage after cutting Satele. There is no bluff to make now, at least not one that carries any bit of weight whatsoever. Not only do they need to compete with (and likely outbid) any other interested and able team, they have to strike a deal when they have absolutely zero leverage.

After signing D’Qwell Jackson and re-upping with the Boomstick earlier today, the salary cap space is slowly dwindling. Surely the Colts plan to lock up Vontae Davis before other teams can drive up the price. Now they face the uncertainty of free agency, knowing full well they have to come up with a new starting center and they have no bluff or ace in the hole.

The Colts are engaged in a high stakes game of poker, and they have to go all-in to make sure they get their man and new center. I have no doubt that there is a plan in place. Like Mike Tyson said, everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.

They can’t control what other teams offer. They can’t control what their target’s agent will do. It’s a risky move to bring a knife to a gun fight, especially when there are tons of sharks in the water. Write that down.

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