The Indianapolis Colts need to address their offensive line this offseason in the hopes of protecting Andrew Luck better, but at least one lineman that started a few games a year ago will not be back.
According to ESPN's Mike Wells, "the Colts do not plan to tender Shipley." The center is a restricted free agent, meaning that the team could give him a tender to sign or for another team to match, but if they do not do that Shipley will become a free agent.
Shipley was the team's best center in 2014 without question, and he started the first four games of the season at center and another game later in the year at left guard, playing in relief role a number of other times. He was claimed off of waivers shortly before the season began, and general manager Ryan Grigson made it clear that Shipley wasn't the team's long-time starting center, but he played well through the first four games. The Colts then decided to bench him after week four (in a situation that wasn't handled well by Chuck Pagano and the team) and for the next ten games the team started undrafted rookie Jonotthan Harrison. After some awful games from him, however, the team made the move to Khaled Holmes for the last five games (including the playoffs) and he gave the team solid play and hope moving forward.
There is little doubt about who the Colts' starting center is next year, as we all know it will be Khaled Holmes - and that's the right move for the team. The Colts also still have high hopes for Jonotthan Harrison and hope that he can continue to develop, so it was clear that the Colts had their two centers already. The only way they were bringing back A.Q. Shipley is if they wanted to carry three centers again, and since guard Jack Mewhort can also fill in at center that's not really needed.
It's rough for Shipley, who loves playing with the Colts' players, as the Colts have undervalued him during his two years with the Colts. In 2012, he was the team's best center but started just five games and was traded after the season. He spent the 2013 season with the Ravens, but was waived after training camp a year ago. The Colts picked him up due to injuries at the position and Shipley started the first four games, but he was then benched despite being the team's best center all year long. It's tough, but that's the reality in the NFL - it's not always the best player playing, but there are a lot of other factors that go into these decisions. First and foremost of them is potential, and the Colts view both Holmes and Harrison as having a better chance to be the center of the future than Shipley.
Hopefully A.Q. Shipley gets picked up somewhere that truly values what he can do (which, to be clear, isn't be a great center but be a solid one- something that can be used by a number of teams). But, according to ESPN's Mike Wells, it sounds like that place won't be Indianapolis, which isn't a surprise.