Colts Rumors

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/14/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Denver Broncos

Indianapolis Colts

San Francisco 49ers

  • Waived: OL Alan Knott

Seattle Seahawks

  • Waived from injured reserve: OL Avery Young

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Colts Sign RB Branden Oliver

The Colts have signed running back Branden Oliver, the team announced today (Twitter link). The team waived receiver Dres Anderson to make room on the roster.

Oliver was one of several veteran running backs left on the market, and his addition likely has something to do with the injury to Marlon Mack. It was reported yesterday that the Colts were looking to bring in a veteran back. Mack is expected to miss a few weeks with a hamstring strain.

Earlier this summer, it was reported that the Bills were interested in bringing in Oliver, but nothing ever materialized. Oliver came into the league as an undrafted free agent in 2014, and spent the last four seasons as a Charger.His biggest role came as a rookie, when he started seven games and carried the ball 160 times for 582 yards and three touchdowns. His role decreased significantly to being strictly a backup after that, and he missed the entire 2016 season due to injury.

The Colts let Frank Gore walk to Miami earlier this spring, and were left with a very young running back room. Oliver should provide a steady veteran presence, but isn’t a lock to make the 53-man roster. The group currently consists of Mack, rookie Nyheim Hines, Christine Michael, Robert Turbin, and Jordan Wilkins.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts To Sign DE Ryan Delaire

Ryan Delaire will receive another opportunity after being out of football in 2017. The Colts agreed to sign the free agent defensive end, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets.

To make room for Delaire, the Colts released veteran defensive back Shamarko Thomas, Mike Wells of ESPN.com reports. Interestingly, this move comes two days after Thomas was the NFL’s first player ejected under the new helmet-contact rule.

Delaire spent two years with the Panthers, serving as a rotational defensive end during their 2015 NFC title season and part of the following campaign, before missing the 2017 season. He took multiple visits in the spring, meeting with the Cowboys and Bears, and will land with the Colts.

A knee injury halted the former UDFA’s progress, with a possible late-season signing with the Eagles hijacked by a failed physical last year. He’ll now join former Eagles OC Frank Reich‘s team.

The Colts have added Denico Autry and Chris McCain to their defensive line mix, and they used a second-round pick to bring in Tyquan Lewis. They also have 2017 third-rounder Tarell Basham and one-time Bengals first-rounder Margus Hunt.

Delaire, 26, finished with 2.5 sacks as a rookie for the Super Bowl Panthers team, although he wasn’t active for that game, and Carolina brought him off IR in 2016. The Panthers waived the Division I-FCS product with a failed physical designation in July of last year.

Thomas played four seasons as a Steelers backup before seeing time in 12 games as a Bills reserve in 2017. The 27-year-old former fourth-round pick has sufficient service time to avoid waivers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Could Add Free Agent Running Back

Half of the Colts running backs are currently dealing with some kind of injury, and the organization could be looking to add some reinforcement as the position. Mike Chappell of IndySportsCentral.com tweets that he expects the Colts to sign a free agent running back today.

As of right now, Christine Michael is the only veteran running back on the roster who is considered healthy. While rookies Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins are also at full health, the team still has as many healthy backs as injured backs. Marlon Mack (hamstring), Robert Turbin (ankle), and Josh Ferguson (unknown) are all dealing with their own ailments, and Turbin will be also be sitting out the first four games of the upcoming season due to suspension.

Fortunately for Indy, there are plenty of veteran running backs still on the market. If the team is looking for an actual contributor (as opposed to a warm body), they could eye any of Adrian Peterson, DeMarco Murray, and Jamaal Charles. Our own Sam Robinson detailed some of the available running back options (with a focus on the Redskins) last night.

The Colts might not only be looking to add some reinforcement at running back. The team learned yesterday that rookie wideout Deon Cain was set to miss the entire season with a torn ACL. The injury moves former undrafted free agent Chester Rogers and fifth-round rookie Daurice Fountain towards the top of the depth chart.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts Rookie WR Deon Cain Out For Season

Deon Cain generated buzz in Colts camp this summer, but his season will end after merely one preseason game.

The sixth-round rookie tore an ACL in Indianapolis’ preseason opener Thursday night, Frank Reich said Friday. He’ll miss the rest of this season.

Cain turned heads in camp and was likely going to factor into the Colts’ receiver rotation as a rookie, but instead he’ll have the customary long ACL rehab route ahead. The Colts have the former Clemson cog under contract through 2021, but he’ll only have a chance to make an on-field impact during three of those seasons.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound wideout was a three-year producer for the Tigers, compiling over 700 receiving yards the past two seasons. During Clemson’s national title campaign in 2016, Cain averaged 19.1 yards per catch and scored nine touchdowns. He was not expected to go off the board as late as he did, but the Colts nabbed him in the sixth round.

This does wound a Colts receiving corps that isn’t especially deep. Ryan Grant and Chester Rogers represent T.Y. Hilton‘s most proven supporting-casters. Fifth-round pick Daurice Fountain also factors into this equation.

Colts Rumors: Brissett, Castonzo, Hooker

Colts owner Jim Irsay said earlier this week that he wouldn’t consider trading backup quarterback Jacoby Brissett in exchange for a first-round pick, and it sounds like new head coach Frank Reich agrees, as Mike Wells of ESPN.com writes. “We actually talked right at the beginning of camp, and I just cannot emphasize enough how fortunate we are to have Jacoby,” Reich said. “I think this guy’s one of the top 20 quarterbacks in the NFL, and we have two of them on this team. It will be a different role for him. We talked about that, and Jacoby is a real pro in every sense of the word.” Brissett, who started 15 games for Indianapolis a season ago, will now act as the club’s No. 2 option behind Andrew Luck, who is recovering from a shoulder injury which cost him the entire 2017 campaign.

Here’s more on the Colts:

  • Left tackle Anthony Castonzo re-injured his hamstring last week and will now be “miss a little bit of time,” Reich told Stephen Holder of the Indianapolis Star. Castonzo, who began camp on the physically unable to perform list while dealing with the same injury, has only missed five total games through seven NFL seasons. At this point, it’s unclear if Castonzo is in danger of missing regular season action, but the Colts don’t have much tackle depth behind him. While Indianapolis spent the offseason reinforcing the interior of its offensive line, tackle wasn’t necessarily addressed in the same fashion. Currently, journeyman J’Marcus Webb, who was signed at the end of July, is filling in on the blindside.
  • Speaking of Colts injuries, safeties Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers could both be ready for Week 1 after dealing with their own health questions marks, per Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. Both Hooker, who is recovering from a torn ACL, and Geathers, working his way back from January knee surgery, opened training camp on the PUP list but have since been moved to the active roster. If Hooker and/or Geathers aren’t available to begin the season, the Colts will turn to Matthias Farley (who started 15 games in 2017) or T.J. Green to carry the load.
  • On the Colts’ first unofficial depth chart of the preseason, 2017 second-round pick Quincy Wilson was not listed as a starter at cornerback. Instead, journeyman Pierre Desir and former undrafted free agent Kenny Moore are the current top options in the Indianapolis secondary. In a separate piece, Holder looks at the unlikely ascendance of Moore, whom the Colts picked up via waivers last September.

Irsay: Colts Unlikely To Trade Jacoby Brissett For First-Round Pick

Andrew Luck has not experienced any setbacks in a long-awaited recovery thus far during Colts camp, but his 2017 absence allowed for a one-time third-string quarterback to see nearly a full season’s worth of starts.

And Jim Irsay doesn’t want to part with Jacoby Brissett, regardless of Luck’s status. The Colts rebuffed trade offers during the spring for their current backup quarterback, but it’s unclear what teams proposed. However, the outspoken owner said he has no plans to trade Brissett — even for a first-round pick.

All of a sudden, we have the best backup quarterback in football,” Irsay said, via Zak Keefer of the Indianapolis Star. “I don’t think we’d accept a (first-round pick in a trade) for him, we think he’s that good.”

That would seem like a lofty asking price for a former third-round pick, but the Colts obviously have a strong reason to employ a quality backup. Despite being a preseason trade acquisition, Brissett started 15 games last season. While his 39.6 Total QBR ranked 27th last season, the former N.C. State passer did not have an offseason to acclimate to his new offense.

Brissett is under contract through the 2019 season and doesn’t have any $1MM-plus base salaries on his rookie deal. While it would be surprising if the Colts legitimately turned down a first-round pick in this case, teams have been protective in the recent past regarding backups — the Bengals with A.J. McCarron coming to mind. Though, the 49ers acquiring Jimmy Garoppolo — stationed in front of Brissett in 2016 — for a second-rounder may make Irsay’s first-round pledge moot.

Brad Kaaya and Temple-produced UDFA Phillip Walker are the other QBs on the Colts’ roster.

Irsay went on to express confidence in Luck’s health, indicating he has “no doubt” about his starter’s arm strength despite the immense layoff. Irsay admitted Luck’s inability to return to action last season surprised him, but now the Colts have a remarkably better signal-caller situation than they did a year ago at this time.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/2/18

Today’s minor moves:

Arizona Cardinals

Cincinnati Bengals

  • Waived: DE Ja’Von Rolland-Jones

Dallas Cowboys

Indianapolis Colts

  • Signed: G Nick Callender

Los Angeles Chargers

New England Patriots

  • Waived/injured: G Nate Theaker

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Colts OL Jack Mewhort Retires

Colts guard/tackle Jack Mewhort has retired from the NFL, according to an announcement from the team. Mewhort was set to enter his age-27 season, but has decided to hang up his cleats instead. 

I would like to thank the Irsay family and the entire Colts organization for giving me the opportunity to live a childhood dream,” Mewhort said in a statement.

Mewhort entered the league as a second-round pick of the Colts in 2014. Mewhort has been a starter for the Colts throughout his career, but he has been seriously hampered by knee problems as of late.

Mewhort’s season ended in October thanks to a knee injury, marking his second straight incomplete campaign. Over the last two years, Mewhort has missed 17 games out of a possible 32.

Despite his health issues, the Colts re-signed Mewhort to a one-year, $1.5MM deal in March that could have been worth up to $3MM with incentives. However, the Colts did not bank on his health as they added guards Quenton Nelson and Braden Smith in the first two rounds of the draft. The club also has new interior lineman Matt Slauson in the mix for depth, so they won’t necessarily have to go shopping for offensive line health.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.