There are conflicting reports on whether the Indianapolis Colts were previously interested in former Pittsburgh Steelers free agent, now freshly signed Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva:
Heard the Colts were not in on Villanueva https://t.co/eWL7nXlJkE— Zak Keefer (@zkeefer) May 4, 2021
Patriots and Jaguars were expected suitors for Al Villanueva back in March, but once they did deals for Trent Brown (trade) and Cam Robinson (franchise tag), Villanueva pivoted to a post-draft strategy. Colts were involved at one point, Dolphins were late.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) May 4, 2021
The 32 year old left tackle was one of the best remaining veteran free agent options left at his position—although he’ll be transitioning to the right side with the Ravens (after a ‘wink wink’ deal between the two sides was finally announced after the NFL draft pick compensatory period ended for signed free agents).
Since 2015, Villanueva made 80 straight starts along the blindside for the Steelers—earning Pro Bowl nods in 2017 and 2018. Per PFF, he was ranked their 28th best offensive tackle this past season with a +74.9 overall grade.
Coincidentally, Villanueva shares the same PFF grade with another potential free agent target for the Colts, recently released Chicago Bears offensive tackle Charles Leno Jr., who earned a +74.9 overall grade from PFF as well in 2020.
Unlike Villanueva, Leno is still available though.
Leno, along with former Kansas City Chiefs 2x Pro Bowler Eric Fisher (PFF grade of +80.1 overall in 2020 before suffering a torn Achilles), are the best remaining options for the Colts to upgrade the starting left tackle spot—and compelling cases can be made for each.
However, we’ll have to see if GM Chris Ballard plans to significantly address the position over projected starter Sam Tevi—because the Colts still have potential upgrades available.