The Indianapolis Colts have not signed any new players since increasing their salary cap space to more than $22 million with a restructured contact for quarterback Matt Ryan. But former Colts players have continued to sign with other teams.
On April 1, the Minnesota Vikings announced signing guard Chris Reed to a contract.
While Reed was not a full-time starter for the Colts, he played more than 500 snaps last season. Had Indianapolis re-signed him, he was a likely candidate to start this fall due to the other departures the Colts have had along their offensive line.
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Colts Have Lost Three Offensive Linemen This Offseason
Despite that shuffling up front, Pro Football Focus rated the Colts offensive line ninth-best in run blocking and 23rd in pass blocking.
But free agency has really hurt the depth along the Indianapolis offensive line. In addition to Reed, starting left tackle Eric Fisher and right guard Mark Glowinski have left. Glowinski signed a three-year deal with the New York Giants.
The Colts appear content to let swing tackle Matt Pryor, who returned to Colts on a one-year deal worth $6 million, enter training camp as the projected starter at left tackle. Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard spoke highly of Pryor while appearing on The Pat McAfee Show on March 22.
“Matt Pryor played really good for us this year, and I think people kind of ignored it,” Ballard said. “Even against the Raiders, when you go back and watch the Raider game, he was outstanding at left tackle, so we’ll give him the first shot at it.”
While Pryor is expected to step up and become the team’s starting left tackle, the same now appears true for Danny Pinter at right guard. He’s the only offensive linemen of the nine with 225 snaps for the Colts last season still on the team and not projected for a starting spot.
Multiple Colts insiders began projecting Pinter as the team’s starting right guard after the Vikings announced adding Reed.
PFF rated Pinter a good run blocker last season but well below average in pass blocking. The PFF player grades ranked Pinter 205th in pass blocking among 230 offensive linemen with at least 200 snaps last season.
Colts to Target Offensive Linemen in 2022 NFL Draft?
With no first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, it will be difficult for the Colts to draft an offensive linemen ready to make an immediate impact. But after losing three linemen in free agency, it would be surprising to see Ballard not try to replace some of that lost depth at the end of April.
Barring a trade, the Colts will first select at No. 42 overall in the second round. In a mock draft from draft analyst Chad Reuter of NFL.com on March 25, the Colts selected Central Michigan offensive tackle Bernhard Raimann.
In a Colts-only mock draft on March 29, NFL writer Kevin Hickey predicted the Colts to pick a wide receiver in the second round. But in the third round at No. 73 overall, Hickey slotted Washington State offensive tackle Abraham Lucas to the Colts.
“Even though the Colts are seemingly giving Matt Pryor the first shot at being the starting left tackle, we should expect them to add competition for that role with a pick in April,” Hickey wrote. “Lucas is a strong fit for what the Colts look for in offensive tackles.”
With a less mobile quarterback in Matt Ryan behind center this fall, the depth of Indianapolis’ offensive line may be even more important this season than it has been in recent years.