INDIANAPOLIS – It’s a good problem to have, but it has cost the Colts their top two offensive line reserves from last season.
The Colts know what their starting offensive line is in 2020, but a byproduct of that means no open starting competition anywhere up front.
Because of that, free agents Joe Haeg (Buccaneers) and Josh Andrews (Jets) have decided to pursue opportunities elsewhere, with a better chance at competing for a starting job.
That’s just the reality of the Colts’ current offensive line situation, and really the lone negative of such a scenario.
But that means the Colts must find new top reserves, in both the interior (guard/center) and out on the edge (tackle).
“You need a collection, especially on the O-line, you need 8, at all points,” Chris Ballard said earlier this offseason, before losing Haeg and Andrews. “It’s going to have to be addressed, especially from a depth (standpoint).”
Internally, the Colts have a couple of interior guys that they at least have committed some resources, too. Javon Patterson was a 2019 7th round pick out of Ole Miss. He tore his ACL during offseason work last spring, but is still under contract. Guard Jake Eldrenkamp had a nice camp last year to make the practice squad, before getting called up to the 53-man roster late in the season.
At tackle, Le’Raven Clark was re-signed on Friday, and he was the emergency tackle never needed to play a snap last year. Besides Clark, it is anyone’s guess as to how the tackle depth looks.
It’s not like the Colts are oblivious to the need they now face—finding quality offensive line depth.
No matter how much money the Colts could have thrown at a guy like Haeg or Andrews, none of it could outweigh the appeal of possibly starting.
Now, 72 hours into free agency, the Colts face the reality of having to replace their top two offensive line reserves from last year.
And if a couple of injuries occur up front in 2020, that 6th and 7th offensive lineman will have massive roles this fall.