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NFL Indianapolis Colts

5 Indianapolis Colts Who Shouldn’t Be Back in 2014

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5 Indianapolis Colts Who Shouldn't Be Back in 2014

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The Indianapolis Colts will enter the 2014 offseason in a very healthy position with regards to cap space. They have an estimated $36 million available to enhance the roster for the third best number in the league behind the Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars. After some very questionable acquisitions during free agency last year, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson will hope to make the improvements needed this time around in order to mount a stronger postseason push in 2014.

There are, of course, several glaring weaknesses on this current Indianapolis roster. Frustratingly for Colts fans, these are the same weaknesses which have plagued the team for the better part of a decade.

The Colts ranked 26th against the run during the regular season, giving up an average of 125.1 yards per game. The problems were magnified in the playoffs with LeGarrette Blount's 166-yard day and four touchdowns in Foxboro during the Divisional Round. Grigson must revisit this issue for the second time having attempted to beef up the defense last offseason.

The second major weakness on the team is without question the offensive line. Peyton Manning was able to mask the deficiencies of the group during his time in Indianapolis, but Andrew Luck isn't able to do the same at this early stage of his career. Again, Grigson did attempt to address the problem last year, and the signing of right tackle Gosder Cherilus proved beneficial. However, the majority of the offensive line is in need of an overhaul in order to protect Luck and assist with the floundering running game.

Before Grigson can get to work, several players need to part ways with the franchise to open up some space on the roster. These five players shouldn't be playing for the Colts next year and are expected to be released or let go during free agency.

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5. Weslye Saunders

Weslye Saunders
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Saunders didn’t put a foot wrong this year when his number was called, catching four passes for 46 yards during the handful of games in which he featured this season. The issue for the third-year tight end will be the return of Dwayne Allen next year. Coming to the end of his current contract, it’s unlikely Saunders gets another opportunity with Allen, Coby Fleener and Jack Doyle ahead of him in the pecking order. He hasn’t looked out of place on the Colts’ roster, but Saunders will be looking for a job elsewhere this offseason.

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4. Kelvin Sheppard

Kelvin Sheppard
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Sheppard was traded to the Colts from the Buffalo Bills during the 2013 offseason, and his lack of production at the inside linebacker position should signal the end of his brief stint with the franchise. Costing a potential $780k next season, Sheppard would be the highest paid ILB on the roster and his level of performance this year simply does not warrant such a salary.

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3. Matt Hasselbeck

Matt Hasselbeck
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Signing Hasselbeck prior to the 2013 season made a lot of sense for two reasons. Firstly, he remains a capable quarterback who could do a serviceable job had Luck gone down for a game or two. More importantly, Hasselbeck has featured in eleven postseason games and reached the Super Bowl in 2005. Having a player with that experience around Luck can only help the second-year star grow as under center.

However, at this stage the Colts starter has probably learned all Hasselbeck has to offer, and the $2.5 million the ex-Seahawk is set to receive in 2014 is just too much for a backup quarterback. The Colts can find another capable veteran for Luck to study under for a much lower price this offseason.

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2. Samson Satele

Samson Satele
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Satele is arguably the worst center in the league and will cost Indianapolis over $5 million if he remains on the roster next year. Releasing him would bring a charge of just $1 million, so he absolutely needs to go.

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1. Darrius Heyward-Bey

Darrius Heyward-Bey
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Heyward-Bey signed a one-year contract with the Colts for $2.5 million last offseason in an attempt to replace the production of Arizona-bound Donnie Avery. In his fifth year in the league, he was expected to add some veteran leadership to the Colts' incredibly young offense. Instead, he struggled throughout the regular season -- dropped passes being the primary issue -- and was eventually relegated to the special teams unit. Indianapolis will hope to add another receiver via the draft or free agency, and Heyward-Bey will be on his way out.