The conversation surrounding the Indianapolis Colts’ need for a left tackle was becoming so exhausting that we honestly thought their search would never end.
It’s crazy to think longtime starter Anthony Castonzo announced his retirement way back in January and the Colts went the following four months without finding his replacement.
Given how many quality options, both in free agency and the draft, passed them by, it’s equally nutty to think that they were able to sign arguably the most talented option of them all.
Per multiple reports, Indianapolis inked veteran Eric Fisher to a one-year, $9.4 million deal on Monday, though he likely won’t return to the staring lineup until October as he works his way back from a torn Achilles, which he suffered just a few weeks after Castonzo retired, ironically enough.
Well, considering that Fisher’s health isn’t a sure thing, we can’t help but speculate whether general manager Chris Ballard made the right call signing Fisher over Charles Leno, who was heavily linked to the Colts following his Bears release.
Did the Colts make the right call signing Eric Fisher over Charles Leno?
This is a compelling question, so let’s frame it like this: If we were basing our answer solely on which player has a higher floor or less risk, then Leno is the obvious answer. If the answer centered on track record and highest ceiling, then Fisher would get the nod.
Given that the Colts are looking to help Carson Wentz reclaim his moxie under center, they really don’t have any margin for error at the left tackle position, which protects his blindside. The Fisher deal means Indianapolis will be without a staring-caliber LT for potentially the first month of the season, and that’s a real reason to be timorous.
While Fisher could be the better overall player upon returning, the Colts wouldn’t have that aforementioned problem if they signed Leno, who’s played an impossible 93 consecutive games dating back to 2016 and earned a stellar 74.6 blocking grade over 1,066 snaps last season.
You also have to question how effective Fisher will be when he reenters the fold. As we know, there aren’t many athletes who return to the player they were before tearing their Achilles, and the jury is still out in terms of which side of the pendulum the former No. 1 overall pick falls.
It’s almost impossible to answer, so here’s our final verdict. For fans who are fine with high-risk moves that could potentially become home runs down the road, Fisher was the right call. Not to mention he’s familiar with Ballard from when the GM was an executive in the Chiefs’ front office.
If you’re more of a conservative fan who prefers no-nonsense signings that have a minimal chance of blowing up in a team’s face, then Leno was the right call.
Bottom line? If Ballard and head coach Frank Reich gave the green light to sign Fisher, then fans have very little reason to be up in arms with the move. After all, when the two-time Pro Bowler is atop his game, he might just be the most dominant LT in the league.
Only time will tell if he’s able to rediscover that form, however.