Marques Colston’s Cap Situation; Is 2014 the End?

marquescolston

Marques Colston’s 27-catch, 342-yard, one-touchdown line over the Saints’ first eight games last season prompted whispers that he was finished. Ultimately, his 48/601/4 line over New Orleans’ last eight games silenced the haters. And he’ll continue to keep these detractors aside in 2014, in what will be his last relevant fantasy season.

Never an elite athlete, there’s no question that Colston’s NFL success has largely been a product of Drew Brees and a high-powered Saints offense. Lucky for Colston, you win games and post fantasy points for on-field production, not 40 times. And since Colston has been catching passes from Brees for each of  his 8 NFL seasons, he’s consistently produced at low-end WR1 to WR2 levels.

Will he continue this production as he enters his age 31 season?

Historically durable, sporting a game that’s predicated on body control and height rather than blazing speed, Colston’s age isn’t a huge worry to me. If he continues to see volume, he should continue to produce.

Marques Colston Career Targets

Year Games Played Targets Targets/Game
2006 12 115 9.58
2007 16 98 6.13
2008 10 89 8.90
2009 16 106 6.63
2010 15 133 8.87
2011 14 107 7.64
2012 16 132 8.25
2013 15 110 7.33

Which  poses the next question: Will Colston see enough volume?

Despite the fact that Colston’s targets per game reached a four-year low last season, he was still one of 29 wide receivers who saw 110 total targets. As filtering through the Receiver Stats App shows, it’s pretty unlikely that a wideout receiving 100+ targets has an unsuccessful year. Colston has consistently hit this 100 target mark, and I don’t see the sum of (A More Experienced Kenny Stills + Drew Brees’ New 1st Round Toy Brandin Cooks)-(Darren Sproles + Lance Moore) resulting in fewer Colston targets.

Unfortunately, his 2015 outlook is not as bright, a year where he’ll almost certainly be wearing colors other than black and gold.

The contract that Jimmy Graham signed this week contains an $11 million 2015 cap hit, the cherry on top of an already nightmarish Saints future salary cap setting. As I explained yesterday, GM Mickey Loomis is going to have to get creative next offseason, as there aren’t many guys whose post-2014 releases would clear considerable cap space. The release of Colston, who has a $9.7 million ’15 cap hit and $5.4 million of post-2014 dead money attached to his deal, would save the Saints $4.3 million against the 2015 salary cap—as close to a no-brainer decision that Loomis will have next offseason.

The 2015 result? A 32-year-old Colston on a non-Drew-Brees led team.

No thanks.