The Colts have thirteen players who are due to become unrestricted free agents this offseason, and we've already looked at twelve of them over the past two weeks. Today, we wrap up our look at the UFAs by taking a look at offensive lineman Joe Reitz and pondering the question of whether the Colts should re-sign him.
Put simply, Joe Reitz is underrated. The Colts love versatile linemen who can help out all over the place, and that's exactly what Reitz is. Over the past four seasons, he has played in 47 games and started 27 (including playoffs). In 2014, he played in thirteen games and started seven (including playoffs), making starts at left guard, right guard, and right tackle. The Hamilton Southeastern product started the three playoff games at right tackle and was part of the best offensive line unit that the Colts had all season, providing solid protection for quarterback Andrew Luck.
The knock on Reitz has long been that he struggles to stay healthy, and indeed in 2014 he missed the early part of the season with an injury. But he was arguably the Colts's best and most valuable backup lineman last season, and there's no denying that he was the best right tackle the team had - while also providing an upgrade over starter Hugh Thornton at right guard as well. In other words, Reitz outplayed two of the opening day starters and was easily one of the five best linemen on the team.
So here's the situation the Colts are in this offseason: they need offensive line help. They could use an upgrade at right guard, and while the hope is that Gosder Cherilus can come back healthy next season, they would be smart to keep a guy like Reitz who can step in if need be. With the Colts needing offensive line help, they don't need to get rid of their best backup but instead need to strengthen the players ahead of him. The cost really shouldn't be an issue with Reitz (he played on a one-year, $1.431 million deal in 2014, according to Spotrac), and for as versatile as he is and for as well as he played in 2014, the decision to re-sign him should be a pretty easy one.
The Colts still need to look for upgrades along the offensive line and they need to get better in that area, but that doesn't mean moving on from Joe Reitz. Instead, the Colts should absolutely bring the lineman back for another year.