Colts Rumors

OL Matt Slauson Turns Down Spot On Colts Coaching Staff

  • Recently retired offensive lineman Matt Slauson turned down a coaching job with the Colts, SiriusXM’s Alex Marvez tweets. Marvez notes Slauson said he wants to spend more time with his family following his nine-year run in the NFL but left open the possibility of entering the coaching ranks at a later date. In 2018, the right guard made five starts with Indianapolis.

Colts Waive QB Brad Kaaya

The Colts waived quarterback Brad Kaaya, according to a team announcement. He’ll now be free to sign with any team of his choosing. 

Kaaya, 24 in September, was once viewed as the potential first overall pick in the 2017 draft, but ended up falling to the sixth round after an inconsistent final season at Miami. Since being selected by the Lions, Kaaya has bounced around the NFL via waiver claims and free agent deals, spending time with the Panthers, the Lions (again), and — most recently — the Colts. He’s yet to appear in an NFL game.

Last year, the Colts waived/injured Kaaya prior to the start of the season. When he went unclaimed, he reverted back to the Colts’ IR.

For now, the Colts will focus on a QB depth chart headlined by Andrew Luck and trade candidate Jacoby Brissett.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Add Howard Mudd To Staff

The Colts have hired legendary offensive line coach Howard Mudd as a senior offensive assistant, the club announced today. Additionally, Indianapolis has promoted Marcus Brady to quarterbacks coach and hired Klayton Adams as an assistant offensive line coach.

Mudd, 76, coached NFL offensive lines from 1974-2012, but his longest run with a single team came with the Colts from 1998-2009. During the end of that tenure, Mudd worked with current Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich, who at the time was an offensive assistant and quarterbacks coach on the Colts staff. Mudd originally announced his retirement following his Colts days, but was coaxed back into coaching the Eagles’ front five from 2011-12.

Indianapolis’ offensive line experienced a dramatic turnaround in 2018: the unit gave up a league-low 18 sacks, and ranked as a top-four group in Football Outsiders‘ pass-blocking and run-blocking metrics. Nevertheless, the Colts still opted to fire offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and replace him with former Broncos staffer Chris Strausser.

Colts’ Matt Slauson Announces Retirement

Colts guard Matt Slauson is hanging ’em up. On Wednesday, the veteran took to Instagram to announce his retirement from the NFL. 

It has been ten amazing years,” Slauson wrote. “Four organizations and countless friendships. What an amazing dream this has all been. Thanks to all my teammates who have gone into battle with me, the group of coaches that have made me better on and off the field, the fans that were there no matter what, and especially my wife and kids who supported me through it all. It has been a very difficult decision but we are excited for what the next chapter holds.”

Over the course of nine seasons, Slauson suited up for the Jets, Bears, Chargers, and Colts. Last year, he appeared in five games – all starts – for Indianapolis. His season ended in October when he suffered a scary back injury.

Somehow, even without Slauson, the Colts’ offensive line was exceptional in 2018. The Colts went five straight games in the fall without allowing Andrew Luck to get sacked even once. The streak lasted until Week 12 when Dolphins pass rusher Cameron Wake got to the QB.

The Colts signed Slauson to a one-year, $3MM deal last offseason. He moved into their starting lineup opposite first-rounder Quenton Nelson and played well: both guards graded as top-30 players, in the view of Pro Football Focus, through the first five games of the year.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Le'Veon Bell Still Interested In Colts?

AFC Notes: Broncos, Lock, Texans, Colts, Vinatieri, Assistant Coaches

The 2019 NFL Draft is less than three months away, with the combine right around the corner. Draft buzz is starting to heat up, and one team in a particularly interesting situation is the Broncos. Denver has the tenth overall pick, and has been looking for a new franchise quarterback ever since Peyton Manning retired. While the team has Case Keenum under contract for one more year, it seems like there’s a very good chance the Broncos take a quarterback early yet again.

Adding fuel to that fire, Mark Kiszla of The Denver Post hears that Broncos GM John Elway is “smitten” with Missouri signal caller Drew Lock, and that Elway’s infatuation with the quarterback was “the worst-kept secret at the Senior Bowl.” Lock seems like a real possibility to go to the Broncos at ten, and could be the first quarterback taken if Dwayne Haskins slips a little bit. If the Broncos do draft a quarterback, they could get out of Keenum’s contract relatively easily, or choose to keep him on for one year as a bridge quarterback/mentor.

Here’s more from the AFC:

  • The Texans made a front office move today, bringing in former Jets executive Clay Hampton to be their new director of football operations, according to John McClain of the Houston Chronicle (Twitter link). McClain notes that Hampton was in the Jets’ front office for 17 years, working his way up from being a ball boy to become their director of football operations. McClain also writes that Hampton will report directly to GM Brian Gaine who worked for the Jets at the same time as Hampton.
  • Adam Vinatieri officially signed on for a 24th season a few days ago, and now we have the details on his new contract with the Colts. Vinatieri signed a one-year $3.875MM deal, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network (Twitter link). Vinatieri turned 46 in December but showed no signs of slowing down this season, even though he did miss two kicks in Indianapolis’ divisional round playoff loss to the Chiefs.
  • Speaking of the Colts, the team made a couple of new additions to Frank Reich’s staff today. They hired Jason Michael as their tight ends coach and Chris Strausser as their offensive line coach, the team announced in a tweet. The Colts’ offensive line had an amazing turn around in 2018, but they fired Dave DeGuglielmo after the season so Reich could bring in one of his own guys, and he apparently settled on Strausser, who was with the Broncos last season. Strausser reportedly was also drawing interest from the Browns.

 

Colts Sign Mark Glowinski To Extension

The Colts didn’t want to let Mark Glowinski get away. On Tuesday, the Colts formally signed the guard to a brand new extension, according to a team announcement. It’s a three-year deal worth $18MM, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets

The Colts claimed the 6’4″ lineman off waivers from the Seahawks towards the end of the 2017 season and he found a role with the club in 2018. Last year, he appeared in eleven games (nine starts) at right guard and finished out as the No. 17 ranked guard in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus.

On the whole, the Colts’ offensive line enjoyed a major turnaround in 2018. The unit allowed the fewest sacks in the league (18) and even went six straight games without allowing Andrew Luck to be put on his back. The Colts dumped offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo earlier this month, but the return of Glowinski should help a bit to keep things consistent.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts GM Discusses Free Agency Strategy

Colts general manager Chris Ballard is known for valuing the draft over free agency. The executive prefers building his team via the draft and then extending his own players, much to the dismay of fans and media who are eyeing a big splash. While the Colts have been active in free agency, they prefer to avoid the bigger names. This has led to the team adding a few gems over the past few years, including tight end Eric Ebron and defensive ends Denico Autry and Jabaal Sheard.

Still, the Colts will be eyeing more than $100MM in cap space heading into free agency, and the team has an opportunity to build off their first playoff appearance since 2014. Considering the team’s cap space and 2018 success, the organization has been connected to a number of big-name free agents.

Ballard recently sat down with Joel A. Erickson of IndyStar.com to discuss the team’s offseason plans and strategy. While he still cautioned that the organization would value the draft over free agency, he did acknowledge that the organization would make a big splash if the price was right. While the entire article is worth reading, we’ve compiled some of the notable soundbites below:

On the perception that he’s not particularly active in free agency:

“I guess I disagree with everybody who says we are not aggressive in free agency…In every other spot I’ve been in, we’ve participated in free agency. I just think it’s got to be the right fit.”

On the team’s philosophy heading into free agency:

“We put a value on a player. When it gets out of our reach, I just think we are comfortable enough to sleep at night saying that we are going to find an answer. Sometimes it might not be the household name that everybody wants us to sign, and that’s OK, I get it, but we are going to find an answer.

“If we think from a free-agent standpoint that we are going to get one of the high-priced (guys), we have a very strict guideline that he’s got to fit. He’s got to fit into the locker room, he is going to have to earn the salary he’s making, not only with his play, but with his impact and his presence within the locker room.”

On why maintaining cap flexibility will be important over the next few years:

“Just look at the roster and look at the contracts that are going to be coming up over the next two- to three-year period. Eventually, what you’d like to happen is you’re paying your own guys, you’re rewarding the guys in the locker room who have done the right things for you.”

On the team’s recent free agent moves:

“Denico Autry, we targeted him from Day 1, and we signed him. Denico Autry ended up being a pretty good player. Just because it might not be who the media is writing about, who the fans are talking about, that doesn’t mean that guy is not a really good player.

“We dabbled into free agency (last year), we just couldn’t find a match. It wasn’t like people were beating our door down to come to Indianapolis. Do I think we are an attractive place? Absolutely, I do.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Re-Sign Adam Vinatieri

Adam Vinatieri will return for a 24th NFL season. The Colts inked a new one-year deal with the kicker, the team announced.

Vinatieri owns four Super Bowl rings and is the league’s all-time leading scorer, so he has nothing left to prove. Still, Vinatieri’s love of football has not waned, so he is eager to return for his age-46 season. Should the Colts reach the playoffs in 2019, Vinatieri will be booting kicks as a 47-year-old.

“If they’re wanting, I can’t imagine (I’d) not keep playing, you know?Vinatieri said earlier this month.

Vinatieri nailed 85% of his field goal tries (23-for-27) for a second straight year and connected on a 54-yard field goal for a third straight season. He made four 50-plus-yard field goals — the fourth straight year he has connected on at least four from beyond 50 yards. He did miss an extra point and a field goal inside of PAT distance in the Colts’ divisional round loss to the Chiefs, but he’s still one of the league’s most reliable legs.

I will say this: do I think he can still kick in this league and be a really good kicker? Absolutely I do,” GM Chris Ballard said recently. “He is as important a guy in that locker room. I don’t know if I have been around a special teams player that has as much impact as Adam (Vinatieri) does in the locker room. From a positive standpoint, all of our young guys that come in get to see Adam Vinatieri work, rehab, prepare his body every year, be a pro, handle the hard times, handle the good times. I mean all of that, what Adam brings, brings a lot of value to this team.”

Only two players — kicker Morten Andersen and quarterback/kicker George Blanda — have played either a 24th season or past their 47th birthdays. Once again, Vinatieri has his eye on smashing a new record.

The deal was first reported by Zak Keefer of the Indy Star (on Twitter). Adam Schefter of ESPN.com (on Twitter) reported the length of the contract. 

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Lose TEs Coach To College Ranks

A year after leaving Iowa State to join Frank Reich‘s Colts staff, Tom Manning is heading back to the college ranks. Indianapolis’ tight ends coach will depart and rejoin Matt Campbell‘s Cyclones staff, according to Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. Manning was Iowa State’s offensive coordinator from 2016-17 and will once again serve in that role, Keefer notes, adding the Colts hoped he would stay. The Cyclones did not have an OC this past season. One of Manning’s charges had one of the most surprising showings of 2018, with Eric Ebron‘s 13 touchdown receptions breaking Dallas Clark‘s Colts record for tight ends. Ebron’s 14 total touchdowns were the third-most in a season in NFL history. The Colts are looking to replace offensive line coach Dave DeGuglielmo and assistant O-line coach Bobby Johnson. The tight ends job joins the vacancy list.