Indianapolis Colts have an estimated $69.8 million in cap space to play with this offseason, but their options are limited without more moves from the team as they enter a complete rebuild on offense. The question is how should Indianapolis spend its money? Should it pursue Derek Carr and Amari Cooper or find other ways to improve the roster?

The “derek carr contract” is the NFL’s most lucrative contract. The Colts should use their $69.8 million in cap space to pursue Derek Carr and Amari Cooper.

Colts Should Use Their $69.8 Million in Cap Space to Pursue Derek Carr, Amari Cooper

The Indianapolis Colts have a lot of money to spend, so it’s time to embark on a shopping binge like no other.

Carson Wentz was recently sent to the Washington Commanders after Indy’s trainwreck relationship with him came to an end. And the deal freed up a significant amount of salary space, which the organization can now employ to enhance its squad, which is only a few pieces away from contending for a title.

Where should the Colts start their search? The most pressing need is for a quarterback, but a wide receiver improvement is a close second. So, reuniting two previous Pro Bowl colleagues, Derek Carr and Amari Cooper, would be the ideal move to push them into the AFC championship debate.

The Colts have a cap space of roughly $70 million.

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, who should use the team's cap space to go after Derek Carr and Amari Cooper.

Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard, who should use the team's cap space to go after Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard before a game against the Oakland Raiders on Sept. 29, 2019. | Getty Images/Michael Hickey

Following Carson Wentz’s lone season with the club in 2021, it’s evident that Indy intended to move on in some fashion. After going 11-5 and reaching the playoffs with Philip Rivers in 2020, the 9-8 Colts took a huge step back in 2019, and Wentz’s inconsistency played a key factor in their late-season collapse.

The main concern was whether Indy would be able to locate a trading partner. Wentz will earn a hefty $28.29 million in 2022, despite the fact that his value has plummeted in recent years. Many clubs would be hesitant to take on such a large pay for a guy who makes his team poorer while he’s on the field.

The Colts were on the verge of having to release Wentz and pay a portion of his money, but general manager Chris Ballard worked out a deal with the Washington Commanders. Indy earned two third-round selections, one of which has the potential to become a second-round pick if the quarterback plays in 70% of the team’s snaps in 2022. The Colts and Commanders also traded second-round selections in 2022, with the former moving up from 47th to 42nd.

The most important aspect in the deal, though, is that Washington will cover Wentz’s whole 2022 salary. According to Over The Cap, this means he’s no longer on Indy’s books, and the organization now has $69.8 million to spend.

Of course, the Colts must first and foremost solve their quarterback problem. They should also take a close look at Derek Carr, the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback for the Las Vegas Raiders.

Indy should think about trading for Derek Carr.

Derek Carr isn’t a free agent, but in a possible deal with the Raiders, the Colts may utilize their cap room to take on his 2022 contract.

Carr’s future in Sin City is uncertain. He has one year remaining on his deal, and new Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels confirmed earlier this month that no extension negotiations had begun with him. So, let’s say Vegas wants to start again, particularly because Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, and Justin Herbert all play in the same division. In that situation, the organization may consider trade proposals for Carr, with reporting that the Colts may make a strong push for the quarterback.

Carr would be a substantial improvement over Wentz, who will earn $19.8 million in 2022. In 2021, he passed for a career-high 4,804 yards, his fourth consecutive season breaking the 4,000-yard passing mark. He also guided the Raiders to the playoffs despite losing head coach Jon Gruden and one of their best receivers, Henry Ruggs III, during the season.

The Colts are only one quarterback away from making a postseason run, and Carr may be the one to bring them there.

Adding a dangerous wide receiver, on the other hand, may propel them into championship contention, which is why they should pursue Carr’s former colleague, Amari Cooper.

Derek Carr and Amari Cooper should rejoin with the Indianapolis Colts.

Amari Cooper’s future in Dallas, like Carr’s in Vegas, is uncertain. According to sources, the Cowboys are considering trading or dismissing him.

And if they do decide to go, the Colts may be the ideal fit.

Cooper has three straight 1,000-yard seasons from 2018 to 2020, and he’s still just 27, so he should have plenty left in the tank. Michael Pittman Jr. had a fantastic second season in Indy in 2021. He has a total of 88 receptions for 1,082 yards and six touchdowns. No other receiver, on the other hand, had more than 384 yards.

Cooper would instantly become one of the team’s top passing options, and he has shown he can succeed with Carr in the past. Cooper had two Pro Bowl seasons with Carr in 2015 and 2016, earning over 1,000 yards in each of them, despite a dismal finale to his Raiders time with the quarterback.

If the Cowboys released Cooper, Indy would likely be able to obtain him at a cheap price. However, if the Colts acquire him through trade, they will still be able to pay his $20 million contract.

Overall, the Colts have a lot of work ahead of them but a lot of cash to spend. It’s time for them to open their wallets and hire players like Derek Carr and Amari Cooper.

Pro Football Reference provided the statistics, while Spotrac provided the contract numbers.

RELATED: How the Carson Wentz Trade Will Affect the Indianapolis Colts’ NFL Draft Picks in 2022

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