The Indianapolis Colts are facing an extremely important off-season this year. The Colts have a few major questions at a few different positions including a massive hole at the left tackle position.
Anthony Castonzo shocked Colts fans earlier in the offseason by revealing that he was retiring from football. The Colts will be looking for a new starting left tackle for the first time in 10 years after Castonzo’s retirement.
The team could start Will Holden at left tackle but he was on an NFL practice squad until the Colts claimed him near the end of the season. Or the Colts could slide Quenton Nelson over the left tackle from guard but he has never played the position before let alone meaningful snaps at the NFL level. Therefore, the Colts NEED to have a plan now that they don’t have a clear option to succeed Castonzo.
Williams is a former first-round pick of Washington and has been an elite left tackle for a long time, reaching eight pro bowls and being named second-team all-pro once. He was traded from Washington to the San Francisco 49ers last off-season but is set to be a free agent barring a new deal or franchise tag before March 17th. Adding Trent Williams to the Colts line would be the perfect replacement for Anthony Castonzo as the line wouldn’t skip a beat.
The only issue with Williams is the likely price tag that he would demand in contract negotiations. Williams just finished a contract that paid him $12.5 million dollars last year and will likely be in line for a deal higher than that. Spotrac puts his market value at around $18 million per year. The Colts already extended Ryan Kelly this year, re-signed Mark Glowinski in 2019, and still have to think about contract extensions for Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith who are both in line for a very good payday.
It’s not that the Colts can’t afford Williams it’s more that they need to go young at left tackle rather than add another big salary on the offensive line.
Villanueva had an interesting start to his NFL career as he originally was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent to play defensive end in 2014. He was waived by the Eagles and then signed to the Pittsburgh Steelers practice squad and switched from a defensive end to an offensive tackle, playing as a depth tackle in his early years in Pittsburgh. It wasn’t until 2016 that he became the Steelers starting left tackle and has been ever since.
Villanueva is a very big offensive tackle at 6’9” and 320lbs and would provide a short-term left tackle option for the Colts until they could find a more long-term solution. Spotrac puts his market value at around $16 million per year which is quite pricey considering his age. He will be 33 before the new season.
Moton is a former second-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft out of Western Michigan by the Carolina Panthers. Moton played sparingly in his rookie year but did appear in all 16 games. In his second year, he nailed down a starting job at the right tackle position for the Panthers and has been there since, playing in every game since 2018. Moton plays right tackle for the Panthers so would have to transition to the left for the Colts.
Spotrac has his market value around $14 million but this doesn't factor in a switch to left tackle which would likely pay him more. Moton will be just 27 when the new season starts and fits in with the young group of offensive linemen the Colts have already. The biggest factor would be if he would be capable of moving over to the left and if so why didn’t he make the switch in Carolina who have needed a long-term left tackle for a while.
Okung is a former first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks. Okung has been in the league for over 10 years and has played for the Seahawks, Broncos, Chargers, and Panthers. Okung is a former Super Bowl champion with the Seahawks in 2014 and also a two-time Pro bowler in 2012 and 2017.
Okung will be 33 years old when the season starts and is dependable, never allowing more than 4 sacks in a year for his career. He has been a steady presence at left tackle, no matter the franchise or situation. The last time he managed a 16 game season was in 2016.
Okung would be a veteran option at a reasonable price. His injury history is worrying but injuries are more apparent as players get up in age. He made around $13 million last year and will likely be looking for something in around the $10 million-plus range.
Robinson is a former second-round pick of the 2017 NFL draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars out of Alabama. Robinson started in his rookie year as the Jaguars left tackle and has been their left tackle since. Robinson has struggled with pass protection at the NFL level, his rookie year he was called for 12 penalties and allowed 41 pressure, his second year he tore his ACL and missed 14 games, his third year he was called for 11 penalties and allowed 45 pressures and last year he was called for 10 penalties and allowed 40 pressures.
If Robinson was slotted in besides Quenton Nelson it may elevate his level of play. He has the size, 6’6” and 320lbs, is only going to be 25 when the season starts, and has good overall athleticism but his pass protection has not been great. Robinson would likely be a project for the Colts at left tackle and wouldn’t demand much in terms of his contract price.