The Indianapolis Colts saw two offensive linemen leave on the first day of free agency. But Colts general manager Chris Ballard responded on March 15 to ensure a third one didn’t depart.
NFL Insider Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports the Colts will re-sign offensive tackle Matt Pryor.
Rapoport reports Pryor will return to Indianapolis on a one-year deal worth as much as $6 million.
While Pryor will return, starting left tackle Eric Fisher and right guard Mark Glowinski will reportedly join other teams in free agency.
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Matt Pryor to Start at Left Tackle?
The Colts acquired Pryor and a seventh-round draft pick in a trade for a sixth-round selection from the Philadelphia Eagles last August. It’s possible that this August, Pryor will be ready to start at left tackle for the Colts.
Pryor only started five games, playing 39.5% of Indianapolis’ offensive snaps last season, but he played well. The player grades from Pro Football Focus ranked Pryor the second-best Colts offensive linemen last season. PFF also ranked Pryor No. 24 among all offensive tackles with at least 400 snaps in 2021.
With Fisher departing, the Colts have an obvious hole at left tackle. Indianapolis still has plenty of cap space to sign other free agents, but as of right now, it seems as though Pryor will compete for the starting left tackle job in training camp.
In his limited starts during 2021, Pryor particularly excelled at pass blocking. PFF awarded him the best passing-blocking grade of any Colts offensive linemen last season.
Colts to Test Depth Along Offensive Line
Injuries across the offensive line forced Indianapolis to play nine different offensive linemen for at least 225 snaps in 2021. The Indianapolis offensive line struggled at times to pass block, but despite all the different line combinations, the PFF team grades placed the Colts ninth in run blocking.
That success may have given the Colts confidence that the offensive line could handle a couple departures.
There are no reports of Fisher signing with a new team, but Joel A. Erickson of The Indianapolis Star reported on March 9 that Fisher “likely won’t be back” with the Colts in 2022.
Losing 40% of a starting offensive line at the same time is never a good thing, but if there’s a silver lining in this situation, as the team’s starting left tackle and right guard last year, Fisher and Glowinski didn’t play next to each other.
Plus, with the signing of Pryor, the Colts still potentially have their starting five offensive linemen already on the roster. While Pryor could become the 2022 starter at left tackle, Danny Pinter or Chris Reed could win the starting job at right guard.
The PFF player grades indicate that Pinter and Reed each struggled in pass blocking, but both, particularly Pinter, were above average in creating holes in the running game last season.