Ricky Bobby said it best: if you’re not first, you’re last. For the Colts, coming in last in 2011 lead to them being first in the 2012 NFL Draft, as well as having first priority on the waiver wire. With the Friday night deadline rapidly approaching for NFL teams to trim their rosters down to 53 men, expect the Colts to shop waivers early and often.
Players with less than four seasons of accrued NFL service go through waivers when they are released, and the Colts are first in line to make a claim. Simply put, if the Colts feel that a player on waivers represents an upgrade, they put in the claim on that player and no other team can stop them. Claiming someone off waivers means that the Colts must cut a player currently in the fold, which will make for a few tense days for those clinging to the last several roster spots.
General Manager Ryan Grigson has already made one waiver claim, nabbing wide receiver Kashif Moore on Tuesday, one day after he was released by the Cincinnati Bengals. The former UConn Husky may have been somewhat of a surprise, given that wide receiver doesn’t immediately come to mind as a huge position of need. However, one thing has been made abundantly clear: Grigson and head coach Chuck Pagano will aggressively make any moves they feel will help improve this team.
Several other positions seem to be likely areas for a potential upgrade, namely cornerback, offensive line and maybe inside linebacker. Defensive line may also be an area of need, specifically nose guard, with Brandon McKinney out for the season with a torn ACL and fifth round pick Josh Chapman placed on the reserve/non-football injury list.
As the Friday deadline nears, the pool of players available on waivers will only grow as all 32 teams scramble to make their cuts. With that expanding pool comes more potential options for the Colts. Watching both the offensive and defensive lines struggle last Saturday afternoon at Washington, moves could definitely be on the horizon.
We’ll find out soon enough how much use the Colts make of waivers, but coach Pagano has said that the team doesn’t plan to be in this position next year. The only way to make that happen is to not end up with the worst record in the league. It remains to be seen how the season will turn out, but one thing is for sure: the Colts should take complete advantage of the situation while they can.
In time, maybe the words of Ricky Bobby will ring true once again for the Colts, and another Lombardi Trophy and banner will join those from 2006. Much work is needed between now and then, and the new regime seems poised for the challenge.