The New Orleans Saints surprisingly cut Pro Bowl veteran right guard Larry Warford on Friday, which raises the question of whether the Indianapolis Colts should be interested:
Source: The #Saints have cut guard Larry Warford, who will be one of the top FAs available.— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) May 8, 2020
As a former 2013 3rd round pick of the Detroit Lions, the 6’3”, 317 pound offensive guard has made 44 starts over the past three seasons for the Saints’ prolific offense—becoming a 3x Pro Bowler (2017-2019) during that same span.
Still only 28 years old, the 7-year veteran has made 101 career starts with both the Saints and the Lions since entering the league.
The Colts’ biggest question along their offensive line is starting right guard Mark Glowinski—who happens to play the same position as Warford. Glowinski made all 16 starts for the Colts last season, but had a down season—following a breakout 2018 campaign.
Per Pro Football Focus (subscription), Glowinski was their 57th best graded guard with a +60.5 grad overall this past season as he allowed 3 sacks and 42 total QB pressures—while committing 10 penalties.
Meanwhile, Warford was PFF’s 13th best graded guard with a +73.1 grade overall, as he surrendered 3 sacks and 32 total QB pressures—and had 6 penalties.
Glowinski is the Colts’ ‘weak link’ along their offensive line, but that might be like being called the “5th Beatle” on a standout studded unit. Opposing defensive lines look to exploit him more than any other Colts offensive lineman because it’s the easiest option—almost like a starting cornerback playing on the other side of any shutdown cornerback in their prime.
Still armed with $24.2 million of cap space this offseason, the Colts still have beyond the salary cap means to bring in Warford as an upgrade to Glowinski.
For what it’s worth, he seems like a natural fit in the Colts’ zone blocking scheme too—as a certified road grader in the ground game:
Warford is a good all-around starter who’s a very good run-blocker. He also has played in 13 or more games in all 7 career seasons. Teams should be lining up for his services and I’m sure they will be/are.— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) May 9, 2020
This double from McCoy & Warford vs. Vea is incredible.— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) November 19, 2019
Warford gives a great assist and McCoy's pad level, hand placement, & hips are textbook. Standing up 350+ & putting him on his back? pic.twitter.com/CIcxhkkHnL
Grady is the king at slanting into adjacent gaps and backdooring runs so for Warford to stay patient & square & catch him like this + ride him down the LOS is a great block to spring this TD. Easily could've gotten overaggressive and whiffed. pic.twitter.com/sS46s6fOAA— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) December 3, 2019
Warford OZ teach tape https://t.co/pyAntwMV9e— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) May 9, 2020
Big boy block by Larry Warford, getting his 2nd step into the ground prior to contact & blowing Jernigan off the ball: pic.twitter.com/pKOMOMm9Bp— Brandon Thorn (@BrandonThornNFL) January 15, 2019
#Texans are interested in RG Larry Warford and after watching a couple random plays from a Saints game last year, it's clear why.— Texans Thoughts (@Texans_Thoughts) May 8, 2020
Warford (#67) is a monster in the run game, and will help in paving lanes for our RBs. His pure strength and great pad level helps drive the DT out. pic.twitter.com/KqS5dKh4mv
Time will tell whether the Colts are ultimately interested in Warford and end up seriously pursuing him as a coveted free agent—as he should have his fair share of suitors.
However, the former University of Kentucky star could be a meaningful upgrade on an already dominant Indianapolis offensive line—and for an improved Colts roster this offseason, that doesn’t have a lot of remaining obvious holes.