One of the most common talking points when it came to the Colts' offensive line in 2014 was center A.Q. Shipley, who started the first four games of the season (playing well) but was then inexplicably benched and, seemingly, forgotten about. He hasn't been the only lineman who has seemed to be undervalued by the Colts, however, but hopefully that is changing.
While the Colts let Shipley walk in free agency, they gave Joe Reitz a 3-year, $8 million contract extension this offseason with $2.75 million guaranteed. It was a nice extension given to the versatile lineman, and hopefully it is a sign of the Colts' valuing Reitz. He is entering his sixth season with the Colts franchise and (likely) his fifth on the active roster. Since spending much of the 2010 season on the Colts' practice squad, Reitz has played in 44 games, starting 24. In 2014, he played in ten games and started four, and then he also started all three playoff games. In those seven games, Reitz started four at right tackle, two at right guard, and one at left guard. He did a good job during the games he played, serving as a capable blocker in both run and pass sets and giving the Colts solid, reliable play. That's been what he has done for the past several years, as he gives the Colts a very versatile option who does a very solid job when he gets in the game. You can do a lot worse with Reitz, and as a backup, he's valuable to have around.
That leads us to 2015, as it's currently unknown exactly what role Reitz will have this season. He started the three playoff games at right tackle and might factor into the discussion there with questions about Gosder Cherilus' health, though it appears as if the Colts are grooming Jack Mewhort to take over at right tackle if Cherilus can't go. That would leave a hole open at left guard, though if offseason workouts are any indication, Lance Louis and Hugh Thornton would be considered the frontrunners there. Reitz absolutely should be considered at left guard if that scenario plays out, but either way, he will provide the Colts with a versatile backup who is more than capable of stepping in and starting in the case of an injury. While ideally you'd love to have the same starting five all season long playing well, we know that in the NFL injuries happen, and knowing that, it's great to have a lineman like Joe Reitz ready to fill in when needed.