Much has been made about the Indianapolis Colts waiting until the last possible minute this offseason to identify their starting left tackle for next season and potentially beyond.
The front office bypassed numerous opportunities to sign seemingly perfect fits in free agency, and that continued in the draft, where they used their first two picks on edge rushers.
After the draft, however, the Colts were heavily linked with Eric Fisher and Charles Leno, two of the top remaining left tackles on the free agent market. It always seemed like they would end up with one of those two players, and that became official on Monday.
Per multiple reports, the Colts have signed Fisher to a one-year, $9.4 million deal. While fans should be thrilled with the move, however, the fact that the veteran lineman is currently recovering from a torn Achilles makes this an incredibly risky signing for Indy.
The Colts signing Eric Fisher feels risky given his recent injury history.
Let it be known that we don’t hate the signing, as the Colts clearing Fisher medically indicates they’re confident he’ll make a full recovery. If that happens, they just landed one of the most formidable left tackles in the league at a reasonable price.
However, the success of the deal will hinge on whether Fisher returns to full strength and we simply can’t guarantee that at this moment in time. After all, the 30-year-old vet has played a combined 23 games over the last two seasons due to core and groin injuries as well.
While Fisher’s track record as a blocker is duly noted, is this really the best option to block quarterback Carson Wentz’s blindside, especially considering he’s looking to rediscover his confidence after a woeful final season with the Eagles? Probably not.
Not to mention that Fisher’s status for the start of next season is very much up in the air. Per insider Zak Keefer of The Athletic, the former No. 1 overall pick is expected to return (to practice?) by the end of training camp or closer the start of the preseason.
Assuming the Colts wait until Fisher is 110% before clearing him for football activities, we’re probably looking at either one of Sam Tevi or Julién Davenport, both of whom were signed as depth options this offseason, filling the void until the two-time Pro Bowler returns.
We might be being overly pessimistic here, but we just don’t want fans to get their hopes up over a signing who, for as much as he satisfies the Colts’ biggest need, is anything but a sure thing to return to his world-beating self coming off a major surgery.
That’s the only point we’re trying to make here. In the grand scheme of things, fans should probably apologize to Ballard and the rest of the front office, because they managed to bide their time and sign (when healthy) one of the best pound-for-pound left tackles in the NFL.