INDIANAPOLIS COLTS: LT DUANE BROWN
The Colts went with a one-year, veteran stopgap at left tackle last offseason in Eric Fisher. Brown would likely be in a similar situation on a one- or two-year deal if Indianapolis was looking to make a change at the position and Seattle couldn’t keep Brown in the midst of trying to retain Quandre Diggs and D.J. Reed.
Brown’s 71.5 PFF grade in 2021 was his lowest mark since his rookie season in 2008, but the 36-year-old is still a reliable pass protector who does a good job of avoiding negative plays in the run game. We’ve seen high-end tackles like Andrew Whitworth and Jason Peters play well into their late 30s. There’s no reason Brown can’t join that group and be a strong short-term starting option on a Colts offensive line that already has plenty of other pieces in place.
The 15-year veteran started all 17 games for the Seahawks in 2021 and has only missed 4 starts in the last three NFL seasons—despite playing in the always physical trenches.
Per PFF this past season (subscription), Brown was their 37th best graded offensive tackle with a +71.5 overall grade. In pass protection, he surrendered 8.0 sacks and 33 total QB pressures during 585 total pass blocking snaps.
With fellow free agent veteran left tackle Eric Fisher reportedly expected to move on—after only a sole season in Indianapolis, the Colts current have a vacancy along the blindside. However, last year’s backup swing-tackle Matt Pryor, if re-signed, could also be a solution.
Of course, the Colts should know the former 3x NFL All-Pro and 5x Pro Bowler well, as the 2008 first round pick out of Virginia Tech played his first 10 career seasons with the Houston Texans—as a familiar standout foe in the AFC South.
Having a projected $69.8M of currently available team salary cap space, Brown fits well into the Colts seemingly large ‘budget’ right now—with a potential short-term deal around $8-10M per year. For what it’s worth, his cap hit with the Seahawks was $9.85M last year.
He’d join a star-studded Colts offensive line that already includes Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, and Braden Smith—but is looking for a rebound season of sorts, having struggled a bit to close out the season (which certainly contributed to the team’s late season collapse).
Until the Colts can find a viable long-term solution, Brown makes sense as a veteran stopgap, who can still play at a pretty high level—without hopefully being as big of a liability last year as Fisher routinely was in pass protection.
The Colts don’t necessarily need ‘Tarik Glenn’ back at that spot, but the franchise just needs a blindside bookend whose solid and can hold his own—in both run and pass blocking.
In that regard, Brown still largely fits the bill—even if he’s getting a little long in the tooth, given how other veteran stalwart left tackles have aged rather gracefully in recent times.