Report: Colts Actively Seeking Offensive Line Upgrades Before Trade Deadline
According to Bleacher Report’s Jason Cole, the Indianapolis Colts are reportedly among three teams that are actively seeking to trade for offensive line upgrades ahead of Tuesday’s 4 PM EST trade deadline:
"“Two inside sources said that there are three contending teams looking for offensive line help in the trade market, the Seahawks, Vikings, and Colts would all like to make a move before the deadline,” reported Cole. “However, it’s unclear if any of those 3 teams will pay the price that Cleveland is looking for, for offensive tackle Joe Thomas or what San Francisco wants in return for Joe Staley. Both players are expected to get at least a 2nd round pick if not more if either is dealt before the Tuesday deadline.”"
While the report should be taken with a grain of salt (after all, are the Colts really a contending team at 3-4 right now?), it would make at least some sense if the team kicked the tires on some potential upgrades along the offensive line.
There’s no question that 6x First-Team All-Pro and 9x Pro Bowler Joe Thomas would be an immediate upgrade at left tackle with incumbent Anthony Castonzo assuredly switching to the right side–significantly improving the unit as a whole.
The same goes for Joe Staley, who’s a 3x 2nd-Team All-Pro and 5x Pro Bowler in his own right.
Nevertheless, both star left tackles are 31 and 32 years old respectively–with Thomas set to turn 32 in early December. If the Colts were one piece away from Super Bowl contention–something that the Denver Broncos actually were last season when they had a late trade fall through for Thomas, then such a high-profile acquisition at left tackle might in fact make sense.
However, the Colts are more than a starting left tackle away from having serious Super Bowl aspirations because unless either Thomas or Staley can rush the passer, as well as stop opposing pass rushers, the Colts 28th rated defense at 28.6 ppg still remains a tremendous liability.
Both Thomas and Staley appear to be the final piece to a championship puzzle for a contender, as each left tackle still likely has at least another season or two of elite play remaining on their Hall of Fame resumes. However, the Colts aren’t close enough to contention to warrant jeopardizing their long-term future on a 2nd round pick for a player who’s not going to be a core player for more than 2 seasons in my opinion.
Not to mention, there are likely serious salary cap ramifications that come into play when even considering the acquisition of either highly paid left tackle. Something that will be hard to work around with the team having just made Andrew Luck the highest paid player in NFL history.
When asked earlier this week if the Colts would be active before Tuesday’s trade deadline, general manager Ryan Grigson responded:
"Oct 23, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Indianapolis Colts general manager Ryan Grigson prior to the Colts game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports“We’ve done so much trading in the past, I’ll usually get some text messages or some phone calls, and I’m sure there will be some coming my way,” said Grigson. “And there have been.”“They’ve got to make sense, and there’s a lot of things that we do as a staff, and if a name comes across and they don’t work from a financial perspective or they’re not a fit or they don’t upgrade us, then that’s not a situation where we’re going to do anything.”“People are always looking for picks. It’s not always player-for-player this time of year,” concluded Grigson. “Those picks are like gold, and they’re hard to part with — especially now for us.”"
It would be surprising to say the least if the Colts actually made a big splash at the trade deadline along the offensive line.
It goes without saying that the offensive line has struggled protecting Luck, who’s been the league’s most sacked quarterback with 25 sacks and is 3rd in QB Hits with 50 total QB hits.
That being said, the offensive line has played better in recent weeks. While a pair of young starting offensive lineman Denzelle Good and Joe Haeg have experienced their fair share of growing pains early on, both have also flashed their long-term potential–especially in the rookie Haeg’s case.
The Colts may be better served developing their young offensive lineman by continuing to throw them into the fire–letting them play through mistakes, rather than acquiring a high cost veteran stop-gap who doesn’t really factor in the franchise’s long-term plans.
If the Colts were one piece away, such a move would make sense. However, for a team that is currently 3rd in the AFC South–with the Titans having won on Thursday night, that doesn’t necessarily hold true right now.