Arguably the most surprising 53-man roster cut on Saturday was former Green Bay Packers All-Pro offensive guard Josh Sitton, which begs the question of whether the Indianapolis Colts could be potentially interested in signing the veteran offensive lineman.
While Sitton just turned 30 years old, the Packers shocking decision to release him wasn’t about his production–as Sitton was both a 2nd-Team All-Pro and Pro Bowler this past season for his old team.
Rather, the 9-year veteran offensive guard was entering the last year of his Packers contract ($6.85M cap hit) and was agitated over not receiving a lucrative multi-year extension–one that assuredly would’ve made him one of the highest paid offensive guards in football, such as the contract prized Oakland Raiders offensive guard Kelechi Osemele just received ($13.2M cap hit).
Simply put, this isn’t an instance of say the Seattle Seahawks placing a once great offensive guard such as Jahri Evans out to pasture–who’s clearly past his prime, which also happened among Saturday’s notable releases.
The difference being that Sitton still has some serious gas left in the tank. It’s just a matter of how many years and dollars a team is willing to invest in an offensive guard who’s starting to get up there a bit in years.
Specifically, per Pro Football Focus (subscription), Sitton was ranked as their 65th best player among their PFF Top 101 players–being their top-rated pass protecting offensive guard this past season:
"65. Josh Sitton, G, Green Bay Packers (35)There is no better pass-protecting guard in the NFL than Josh Sitton. From 2013 to 2014, he averaged just 9.5 total pressures; playing guard this season, he allowed just 16 over 17 games (including the playoffs). His performance has been good enough that the Packers believed him to be the best option they had at left tackle once injuries bit late in the season, and he started a game there against the Vikings on the final regular season encounter. He surrendered seven total pressures in that game, largely to Everson Griffen, but graded barely below average, which for a guard playing tackle, is actually quite an achievement.Best performance: Week 12 versus Chicago: +4.9Key stat: Josh Sitton is the best pass-protecting guard in football. He allowed three sacks this season, but just 12 total pressures (sacks included)."
It’s not just that Sitton remains one of the best offensive guards in football either as a 3x 2nd-Team All-Pro and 3x Pro Bowler, as he’s also incredibly durable.
To elaborate, Sitton has only missed 2 starts in the past 7 seasons for the Packers–otherwise starting in all 16 of their regular season games during that span.
The 6’3″, 318 pound offensive guard continues to be one of the best offensive guards in the business, and with Jack Mewhort out with a knee injury for the beginning of the season and uncertainty on the other side with unproven 2nd-year pro Denzelle Good, the Colts could be potentially interested.
It may also help that Colts offensive line coach Joe Philbin has familiarity with Sitton, having served as the Green Bay Packers former offensive coordinator from 2007-11.
However, the Colts may have to get in a long line of serious suitors for Sitton, as other teams are already very interested in pursuing the star offensive guard:
To put the Colts salary cap chances in perspective (if they are even interested), the team currently has $10.63M in cap space, which is enough to at least entertain a potential veteran player or two–although Sitton may ultimately very well command too high of a price-tag.
For comparison, the Chicago Bears have $19.9M of cap space–meaning much more to make a serious run at Sitton, whereas the New Orleans Saints have $2.06M in cap space–meaning they’d have to get really, really creative as it stands.
If the Colts could make it work–which seems like a major if cap-wise, Sitton would definitely be a major upgrade in Mewhort’s short-term absence at starting left guard to any potential Colts replacement. While upon Mewhort’s return, the team could have either Mewhort or Sitton slide over to the starting right guard spot–marking another significant improvement for the Colts offensive line.