The Colts made a clear statement in this year’s draft; get bigger and stronger on the line. With 4 linemen joining the Colt’s ranks last month, the build begins as they attempt to construct a dominant offensive line that can deal with the likes of JJ Watt twice a season for many years to come. Although a few cuts have already been made, it’s hard to imagine all the returning linemen remaining with the club when September rolls around. With Andrew Luck’s contract looming, GM Ryan Grigson might be looking to save a few dollars here and there also. Many are predicting his contract to break the record books so cap space could be key.
Joe Reitz/ Hugh Thornton OG
Reitz has been a Colt since 2010, but he has never managed to lock down a starting job for an entire season. He logged 14 starts in 2015 which is a personal best, but the team’s production last year was terrible and Reitz may have been part of the problem. At 30 years young, it’s hard to imagine him getting any better and the upcoming camp battle with 14 other linemen might be the end of his career. Thornton finds himself in a similar boat to Reitz. He has been a consistent starter for the last 3 years at the right guard position, but the line clearly needs to upgrade if the Colts want to achieve playoff glory. Hugh does have age on his side, at 24 he is a cheaper option with much more upside than Reitz, but his bland performances might see him receive his marching orders in favour of a rookie.
Arthur Jones DE
Jones signed a 5 year 33 million dollar contract in 2014 and the Colts haven’t exactly got their money’s worth so far; 9 games, 23 tackles and 1.5 sacks to be exact. I have no doubt that the Colts will give him a chance to re-find his form after missing last season due to injury, but his cap number (just over 3.5 million) could see him walking towards the end of camp if he’s not back to 2013 form. Taking a $2 million pay cut for 2016 might save him, but only time will tell.
Jonotthan Harrison C
With first round pick Ryan Kelly set to start at centre week one, pressure is on Harrison to secure the backup role or make the transition to guard and compete for starting honours. Of the 15 linemen going to camp, rookie Austin Blythe will be Harrison’s biggest competition and has the skills and experience to push the 3rd year man all the way. Harrison won’t save the Colts much with regards to cap space if he’s cut, but he must improve his motor if he wants to stick around.