Colts Unlikely to Tender A.Q. Shipley


Prior to the start of the 2014 season, the Indianapolis Colts were in dire need of a center. Injuries had taken out their first two options prompting them to go with A.Q. Shipley, who had recently been cut by the Baltimore Ravens.

Shipley started four games for the Colts this season, and played very well during that span. He was surprisingly benched in favor of Jonotthan Harrison in Week 5 for unknown reasons.

The Colts awkwardly stumbled through the season making weekly changes to the offensive line and never settling on a consistent lineup. Shipley sat on the bench through most of this, only seeing time when another player went down with injury, yet always playing well.

Now, according to Mike Wells at ESPN, the Colts do not play to offer a tender to Shipley this offseason. Shipley is a free agent and the Colts have the first rights to sign him back to the roster.

Undrafted rookie Harrison and second year player Khaled Holmes were both hobbled in the preseason. Shipley was brought in as a temporary solution, but played well enough to be the starter.

Pro Football Focus even had him as one of their highest rated centers through the first few weeks of the season.

This isn’t a surprising move as it has appeared for a long time that Ryan Grigson and Chuck Pagano prefer to play their “horseshoe” guys. We saw similar moves with Trent Richardson at running back for the past two seasons.

Harrison essentially played his way out of being the starter as he routinely forgot snap counts and failed to put the ball cleanly in Andrew Luck‘s hands. Holmes took over at the end of the year and in the playoffs and was horrendous during a four game stretch. Holmes calmed down by the AFC Championship and put in a solid performance.

Its clear that as of right now, the job is likely Holmes’ to lose.

The Colts will be banking on Holmes or Harrison developing into the long term option at the position during the offseason. Its clear that both are talented and have the physical tools to be a good center going forward.

The Colts desperately need to find a good center for the rest of Luck’s career. One of the most underrated factors of the Colts over the past decade was Jeff Saturday anchoring the line and having a rapport with Peyton Manning.

Having a player who knows what line adjustments to call out and can consistently get the ball to Luck will be a big boost to the Colts offense.