According to Yahoo Sports Charles Robinson, the Indianapolis Colts are among the NFL teams that are eyeing the top guards, as well as backup quarterbacks in this year’s free agency:
Of course, the top free agent offensive guards in this year’s free agency are the Cincinnati Bengals Kevin Zeitler and Green Bay Packers T.J. Lang as 1A & 1B, and then a dip to other quality veteran options such as the Detroit Lions Larry Warford and Dallas Cowboys Ronald Leary respectively.
The Colts could clearly use help along the starting right side of their offensive line, as the unit surrendered the 5th most sacks at 44 sacks, while finishing second in total QB hits with 128 total QB hits this past season.
It’s worth noting that two rookies Joe Haeg at guard and Le’Raven Clark at tackle flashed some promise late in the season–starting along the right side of the Colts offensive line. However, the Colts could be rolling the dice by heavily relying on two unproven players to solidify the right side without at least bringing in veteran competition.
If either Zeitler or Lang were brought in, it would be an immediate upgrade at the Colts starting right guard, while solidifying the position for the foreseeable future. It would give the Colts just one position up for grabs at right tackle–presumably allowing one of Haeg, Clark, or even veteran Joe Reitz the opportunity to win the starting job outright in an offseason competition.
Keeping Andrew Luck healthy and upright remains the top priority for the Colts, as he’s their franchise player and the team will only go as far as his golden right throwing arm can take them.
It’s hardly good news for Luck’s backup, Scott Tolzien, who’s due a $2M cap hit in 2017, that the team is reportedly exploring other options at backup quarterback.
For perspective, the Tennessee Titans just re-signed quarterback Matt Cassel to a 2-year, $5.25 million deal on Thursday, meaning that the remaining free agent veteran options could be Josh McCown, Matt Schaub, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Hoyer, and Mark Sanchez among others.
It also looks like new general manager Chris Ballard‘s former backup quarterback Nick Foles in Kansas City could be a cap casualty relatively soon as well.
[Note: I don’t have a ‘horse’ in this race, but the combination of Luck and Fitzpatrick’s ‘Grizzly Adams’ beards on one sideline could break the space-time continuum as we know it.]
It’s possible that the Colts could also explore the trade market for a backup quarterback.
While top trade chips in New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garopollo, the Dallas Cowboys Tony Romo, the Cincinnati Bengals, A.J. McCarron, and even the Chicago Bears Jay Cutler are too pricey for what the Colts realistically need–simply a reliable backup, it’s possible a cheaper quarterback trade option could present itself for the Colts more modest means.
The Colts are armed with roughly $53 million of cap space right now, so the team does have the luxury of making a ‘calculated’ strike or two this offseason–if the franchise so chooses.