Colts cut Stokley and Reagor
INDIANAPOLIS -- Brandon Stokley became an unaffordable luxury item for Indianapolis, so the Colts resorted to cost-cutting.
Stokley, who was due a $500,000 roster bonus, and defensive tackle Montae Reagor, due about a $1 million roster bonus, became the first players to leave the Super Bowl champions after being cut Friday.
"It's a business," said Rick Smith, Stokley's agent. "Is he happy? No. Will he be fine down the road? Sure. But what are you going to do? It's a business."
The moves came as free-agency opened and the Super Bowl champions faced a host of potential changes.
They've already lost two assistant coaches -- Leslie Frazier and Diron Reynolds -- to other teams and now face a significant wave of roster changes, too, including the possible loss of three starters.
Former Pro Bowl linebacker Cato June, starting cornerback Nick Harper and running back Dominic Rhodes -- all key contributors in the Colts' postseason run -- became unrestricted free agents at midnight.
Rhodes was scheduled to visit the New York Giants, a team looking for a different style back than the bulky Brandon Jacobs. They're also looking for someone to replace the retired Tiki Barber and Rhodes is adept at splitting carries, as he would with Jacobs.
Rhodes finished the season with a 113-yard performance against Chicago in last month's Super Bowl. But his market value may have dropped following an arrest for drunken driving on Feb. 20.
June is the latest Colts linebacker to find himself looking for a big payday. In recent seasons, team president Bill Polian has allowed three starters -- Mike Peterson, David Thornton and Marcus Washington -- to sign with other teams. Peterson, with Jacksonville, and Thornton, with Tennessee, even stayed in the Colts division, the AFC South.
Late last season, with the Colts run defense ranked last in the NFL, Polian acknowledged he made a mistake by letting Thornton go. The question now is whether June, small by NFL standards, will find another team willing to pay him big dollars and whether the Colts could match that offer.
Harper's agent, Ian Greengross, indicated Thursday it might be difficult for the Colts to match the money Harper could get. Some consider Harper the second best cornerback on the market behind Buffalo's Nate Clements.
The Colts freed up nearly $8 million of salary cap space by releasing Stokley and Reagor, two players who did not finish the season because of injuries. The league's salary cap is $109 million.
Reagor, who started and played well during his four seasons in Indy, sustained facial injuries when another driver hit his SUV and it flipped over in October. Reagor was not wearing a seat belt and was eventually placed on the non-football injury list ending his season.
Stokley was the Colts' No. 3 receiver, behind Pro Bowlers Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, and was part of the first receiving trio in league history to top 1,000 yards and 10 touchdowns in the same season. He did that in 2004.
Last season, injuries ruined his season. Stokley played just four games, catching eight passes for 85 yards and one touchdown. He missed time early in the season with ankle and knee injuries, then sustained a season-ending ruptured his right Achilles tendon in December at Jacksonville.
His base salary next season was to be $2.1 million.
Apparently, however, the injury has not scared off suitors.
Smith said he has already had "significant interest" from other teams although he declined to name the them or cite how many have called.
"He's doing fine," Smith said. "An Achilles' is a bad injury, but you fix it and you're better. It's not something that lingers and I think he'll be ready by June or July."
Stokley caught 139 passes for 1,916 and 15 touchdowns with the Colts.
Reagor started 45 games in three seasons, recording 12 sacks.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press
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