Matt Pryor

Latest On Colts’ Offensive Line Changes

For years, the Colts deployed one of the NFL’s best offensive lines. The holdovers from those years have since been rewarded with top-market extensions. This season’s Eric Fisher and Mark Glowinski replacement options have helped lead to a regression, inviting questions about the highly paid unit.

Early-season starters Matt Pryor and Danny Pinter have been either relocated or benched. The Pryor-at-left tackle experiment is over, and although the Colts did not see great returns from the Bernhard Raimann-vs.-Bradley Chubb matchup in Week 5, they are turning to the third-round rookie full-time on the blindside.

We just think he has the makeup; he has the physical talent,” Frank Reich said, via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson. “We understand — like a lot of our young players — it’s a process. You look at Alec [Pierce], you look at Jelani [Woods], they get better fast, the more they play. … So we’re just going to put him in there, and we’re going to play.

We feel like he’s got a lot of upside. Right now, I’d be willing to tell you we think that’s going to be our left tackle.”

Raimann seizing the blindside reins would be a welcome sight for the Colts, who have seen this position go through some turbulence since Anthony Castonzo‘s retirement. The team signed Fisher last year, but after his Achilles tear in the 2020 AFC championship game, the longtime Chiefs starter was unavailable to start last season. The Colts used Julie’n Davenport at the marquee O-line spot to start last season and did receive 15 Fisher starts once he was healthy. But the Colts did not re-sign Fisher, who remains a free agent. They tried Pryor at left tackle to start the season, working in Raimann off the bench. Now, it will be Raimann playing throughout.

A 25-year-old prospect out of Central Michigan, Raimann committed four holding penalties in the Colts’ overtime win last week. He has not been charged with any sacks allowed yet; Pryor has given up five, leading to questions about his starter status going forward. A 2020 fifth-round pick, Pinter did not start in Week 5 but replaced an injured Ryan Kelly. Indy’s Pro Bowl was back at practice this week.

It remains to be seen how the Colts will play it on the right side. Citing run-blocking aid, the Colts shifted longtime right tackle Braden Smith to right guard during the Denver outing. Smith has been Indianapolis’ right tackle since October 2018, shortly after the team drafted him in Round 2, and signed a four-year, $70MM deal to man that spot. That contract sits fourth among right tackles, in terms of AAV. If the Colts are planning a longer-term Smith guard foray, their guard commitments — headed by Quenton Nelson‘s position-record $20MM-per-year pact — reside on their own cost tier.

The Colts shifted Pryor to right tackle in Week 5, but the move did not work out. A veteran backup who re-signed with the Colts (one year, $5.5MM) this offseason, Pryor rates as Pro Football Focus’ sixth-worst-graded tackle. This performance has contributed to Matt Ryan‘s 11 fumbles — the most through five games since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger — and 21 sacks taken.

Indianapolis has Dennis Kelly as another right tackle option. Kelly, 32, has 51 career starts — mostly at right tackle. He started 16 games for the 2020 Titans at that position. The 11th-year blocker missed time this summer due to knee surgery and has not played an offensive snap this season. The Colts viewed Kelly as a swingman upon signing him for no guaranteed money. Kelly, understandably, said (via Erickson) he wants a chance to start again.

As he was coming off of his injury in training camp, you can see him getting more and more physically comfortable, comfortable in the system,” Reich said. “Love that he’s here, and we’ll continue to evaluate.”

South Notes: Saints, Darnold, Colts

Links between Patrick Mahomes and other teams have emerged in the past. The Cardinals were preparing to draft the eventual Chiefs megastar five years ago. Sean Payton also confirmed the rumored story of his old team’s plans with the then-Texas Tech prospect. During his latest FOX appearance (h/t’s Peter Schrager), the former Saints coach said he was prepared to draft Mahomes at No. 11 in 2017. While Payton confirmed he discussed the selection with Drew Brees and informed the future Hall of Famer a Mahomes pick would not impact his starter status, the Saints also viewed Marshon Lattimore as a top-four player in the 2017 class.

Payton said in 2020 the team did not have a clear choice between Lattimore and Mahomes, though then-Kansas City GM John Dorsey made New Orleans’ decision easier with the trade-up for the quarterback. Payton said this week Mahomes was “the best quarterback I’d ever seen on college tape.” The Saints had worked out Mahomes in Lubbock that year. Hindsight would suggest the Saints needed to be ready to climb into the top 10 for such a talent, but Mahomes was not viewed as a surefire top-10 pick that year. GM Mickey Loomis also said Lattimore falling impacted the team’s decision not to trade up for Mahomes. Both Mahomes and Lattimore are now signed to long-term contracts, though the former’s prime should be expected to last longer.

Here is the latest from the NFC South:

  • The NFL’s longest-tenured general manager, excluding those with owner-GM or coach-GM roles, Loomis has seen fellow Saints cornerstones Payton and Brees depart in the past two offseasons. But the 21st-year Saints front office boss is not planning to join them in leaving anytime soon, via Jeff Duncan of When the acclaimed salary cap guru does walk away, Jeff Ireland looms as a logical successor. The former Dolphins GM is well-regarded by Loomis and others in the organization, Duncan adds. Ireland, 52, was the Dolphins’ GM from 2008-13. Currently the Saints’ assistant GM, Ireland has been with the team since 2015. The Bears interviewed Ireland for their GM post this offseason, while the Lions and Panthers met with him in 2021. It will be interesting to see if Ireland sticks around to potentially succeed Loomis or land a GM gig elsewhere before the New Orleans GM exits.
  • After a strained 2021 between Michael Thomas and the Saints, first-year HC Dennis Allen made connecting with the wide receiver one of his first acts upon being promoted. Allen flew to Los Angeles to have dinner with Thomas early this offseason, Mike Triplett of notes. Despite Thomas’ injury-plagued 2020s and the Saints’ frustration with their top wideout regarding his 2021 surgery timetable — a process that led to the All-Pro missing a full season — the team vowed not to trade him early this offseason. Thomas, 29, has returned healthy and caught two touchdown passes in the Saints’ Week 1 comeback win over the Falcons.
  • Potentially the Colts‘ left tackle of the future, Bernhard Raimann backed up Matt Pryor in Week 1. But the Colts used the third-round rookie in a rotation with Pryor. After Raimann played 12 of the five-period game’s 90 left tackle snaps, Frank Reich said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson) he plans to continue rotating his backup in going forward. Left tackle represented the only position at which the Colts deployed a rotation, beginning a path to Raimann seizing this job full-time. The Colts re-signed Pryor on a one-year, $5.55MM deal this offseason, and Erickson offers the 2021 Colts swingman — who has never been a full-time left tackle — could be an option at right guard, should Raimann take over the blindside.
  • Sam Darnold is making progress toward a return. The Panthers backup has shed his walking boot, per The Athletic’s Joe Person (on Twitter). On IR due to a high ankle sprain, Darnold will miss at least the season’s first four weeks.

AFC Rumors: Gilmore, Pryor, Petit-Frere, Wilson, Jaguars

Cornerback Stephon Gilmore is playing with his fourth team after a short stint in Carolina. He started in Buffalo before signing with the Patriots. New England traded the two-time All-Pro midseason for only a sixth-round draft pick in return. Gilmore was injured at the time, but the compensation the Patriots received never made a ton of sense. Recently, though, Gilmore elaborated on the situation that deteriorated in New England, according to Stephen Holder of ESPN.

At the peak of his career, Gilmore suffered a torn quadriceps in the 2020 season. The injury kept him on the Patriots’ reserve/physically unable to perform list to start the 2021 season and, during that time, the relationship between Gilmore and New England “reached a point of no return.”

“I just didn’t like how they handled my situation, my injury,” Gilmore told reporters. “The situation just, I don’t know, wasn’t right for both sides.”

Here are a few more rumors from around the AFC, starting with a couple position battle victories in the AFC South:

  • In a bit of a surprise decision, it appears that veteran offensive tackle Matt Pryor has won the left tackle job in Indianapolis over rookie third-round pick Bernhard Raimann, according to Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star. Pryor has only ever started one game at left tackle in the NFL and many expected the rookie out of Central Michigan to give him a strong run for the job. Erickson goes on to say that, should Pryor not perform up to expectations, there’s a strong chance that the starting job could slip out of his grasp.
  • A third-round rookie who did win the starting job is just across the division in Tennessee. Titans general manager Jon Robinson made it known last weekend that Ohio State rookie Nicholas Petit-Frere will start at right tackle to open the season, according to Kayla Anderson of WKRN News 2. Last year’s rookie offensive lineman Dillon Radunz failed to earn much of a role last season but, reportedly, did everything right this offseason. Still, Petit-Frere has effectively won the starting job and Radunz will continue to come off the bench in Year 2.
  • New Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson received an impressive contract extension this week reported as a five-year, $245MM deal. The new money on the contract extension was originally reported to be $49MM per year. Those original reports failed to take the league’s new 17th-week into account when calculating the new money, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports. Wilson was entitled to two more years under his previous contract and the original new money reports included the Week 17 paychecks that really should’ve been included with the original contract. So, while still an extremely impressive payday for Wilson, his average new money is more like $48.52MM per year than $49MM.
  • The Jaguars are losing a member of their front office, according to Seth Walder of ESPN. Director of strategic research & development Momin Ghaffar is leaving the team for a job outside of football. In fact, the job is “outside of sports.” This isn’t a terrible surprise as the position was one of Jacksonville’s many roles that fuse business analytics with football analytics.

Colts’ Bernhard Raimann Could Become Week 1 LT Starter

New Colts quarterback Matt Ryan will operate behind a number of top-tier blockers in 2022, including All-World performer Quenton Nelson at left guard, three-time Pro Bowler Ryan Kelly at the pivot, and Braden Smith — who signed a four-year, $70MM extension one year ago — at right tackle. The left tackle and right guard spots, however, remain up for grabs.

Of course, the LT job is the most important one on the line, and Matt Pryor is currently penciled in as the Week 1 starter on Ryan’s blindside. The problem is that Pryor, a 2018 sixth-round pick of the Eagles, has just one start at left tackle in his career, which came in the penultimate game of the 2021 season as an injury replacement for Eric Fisher. Indianapolis acquired Pryor in a minor trade in advance of final cutdowns last August, which is indicative of his generally underwhelming performance during his two-year stint in Philadelphia.

On the other hand, Pryor demonstrated marked improvement in an admittedly small sample size with the Colts last year. In 438 offensive snaps, the TCU product did not allow a sack and earned a strong 76.5 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. PFF ranked him as the 25th-best tackle in the game — he also saw time at right tackle as a fill-in for Smith — and gave him high marks for both his pass-blocking and run-blocking acumen. The Colts were sufficiently impressed to re-sign Pyror to a one-year, $5.5MM contract this offseason, while Fisher remains a free agent.

Indianapolis did, however, select Central Michigan’s Bernhard Raimann, a First-Team All-MAC left tackle last year, in the third round of April’s draft. Per Mike Chappell of, Pryor will open training camp with the first-stringers, but Raimann, who is viewed as the long-term solution at LT, will be given “every opportunity” to win the job.

It’s not difficult to see why the Colts are so optimistic about Raimann. Even though he began his collegiate career as a tight end and just converted to tackle in 2020, Lance Zierlien of says the Austrian native is much more developed as a technician than one might expect. That technique combined with a tight end’s athleticism make Raimann an intriguing prospect, and while he still has plenty of work to do to reach his ceiling, it sounds as if he has a good chance to step right into a starting role as a rookie.

If that happens, then Pryor — who saw time at guard with Indy last year and whose work with the Eagles came on the interior of the line — could compete with 2020 fifth-rounder Danny Pinter for the RG gig.

“We’ll get the best five [O-linemen] on the field,” GM Chris Ballard said. “Whatever the coaches think are the best five, we’ll get them on the field.”

OL Notes: Fins, Steele, Colts, Jets, Seahawks

After the Dolphins drafted him to be Laremy Tunsil‘s left tackle successor, Austin Jackson finished his second NFL season at guard. Pro Football Focus graded Jackson as the Dolphins’ worst regular starter last season and tabbed Miami’s unit as the league’s worst. The team has since made changes, signing Terron Armstead to a big-ticket deal and adding guard Connor Williams. With Robert Hunt at right guard, the Dolphins are looking to try Jackson at a third position soon. They are planning to see how the USC product fares at right tackle, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald tweets. The Dolphins also figure to try 2021 second-rounder Liam Eichenberg on the right side, with Armstead having replaced him at left tackle. Hunt, whom PFF graded as the team’s top O-line regular last season, began his career at right tackle. But the Dolphins would prefer he stay at right guard, Jackson adds. This figures to pit Jackson and Eichenberg in a position battle. Eichenberg, who replaced Jackson on the left side last year, made 16 starts as a rookie.

Here is the latest from the O-line ranks:

  • The Cowboys made La’el Collins a cap casualty, but the team is confident in the player poised to replace him. Dallas views Terence Steele as a potential “decade-long” option at right tackle, Todd Archer of notes. A UDFA out of Texas Tech, Steele has made 27 starts over his first two seasons, subbing for both Collins and Tyron Smith. The Cowboys turned to Steele during Collins’ five-game PED suspension last year and used him as their primary right tackle starter in 2020, when Collins missed the entire season. This has given Dallas a notable evaluation period on the oft-used backup. Steele is not eligible for unrestricted free agency until 2024, giving Dallas more time to determine his future.
  • Matt Ryan will join a Colts team that houses some of the league’s best O-linemen, and Quenton Nelson is on track to join center Ryan Kelly and right tackle Braden Smith in being extended. But the team has a hole at left tackle again. With Eric Fisher unlikely to return, the Colts may not be ready to spend on a replacement. Swingman Matt Pryor stands to be given the first look at replacing Fisher, Mike Wells of notes. Pryor made guard starts for the Eagles in 2020 and started at three positions for the Colts last season, a five-start year in which he replaced Fisher, Smith and Nelson at various points. The ex-sixth-round pick is signed through the 2022 season.
  • The Jets reunited Mike LaFleur and Laken Tomlinson, giving the ex-49ers guard a three-year, $40MM deal during the legal tampering period. Tomlinson will receive $13.9MM fully guaranteed, Rich Cimini of tweets, adding that Tomlinson’s 2022 cap charge comes in at just $5.4MM. Tomlinson’s 2023 base salary ($12.7MM) shifts from an injury-only guarantee to a full guarantee on Day 5 of the 2023 league year. Tomlinson’s cap number spikes to $17.4MM in 2023.
  • The one-year, $4MM deal the Seahawks gave Austin Blythe comes with a $2.5MM signing bonus and a $1.5MM base salary, Aaron Wilson of tweets. Blythe can earn up to $500K in playing-time incentives. With Ethan Pocic unsigned, Blythe has a clear path to becoming a starting center again. The ex-Rams guard and center starter backed up Creed Humphrey throughout last season with the Chiefs.
  • Will Richardson‘s one-year Jaguars deal is worth $2MM, Wilson adds (on Twitter). Jacksonville is guaranteeing the veteran backup $975K.

Colts To Re-Sign OL Matt Pryor

The Colts are bringing back Matt Pryor. The team is re-signing the offensive tackle, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter). It’s a one-year deal worth $5.5MM with $6MM upside.

The 2018 sixth-round pick spent the first three seasons of his career with the Eagles, starting 10 of his 27 games. The lineman was traded to Indy (along with a seventh-round pick) for a sixth-round pick prior to the 2021 season.

During his lone season with the Colts, the 27-year-old saw time in all 17 games, starting five. He saw time on 40 percent of his team’s offensive snaps and 19 percent of their special teams snaps.

Eagles Cut 20+ Players, Down To 53

The Eagles are ready to fly into Week 1. On Tuesday, they made a series of moves to get down to the 53-man roster max. Here’s the full rundown:



Placed on IR

Placed on Reserve/COVID List

The Birds also freed up a spot earlier today by trading offensive lineman Matt Pryor (and a 2022 seventh-round pick) to the Colts for a sixth-round choice.

The release of wide receiver Travis Fulgham was one of today’s more notable moves. Fulgham played a big role for the Eagles last year as the team was decimated by WR injuries. However, they didn’t see enough this summer to keep him on the 53-man roster. With Fulgham gone, the Eagles are left with J.J. Arcega-Whiteside, Jalen ReagorDeVonta SmithGreg Ward, and Quez Watkins as their Week 1 receivers.

Eagles Trade Matt Pryor To Colts 

The Eagles have traded guard/tackle Matt Pryor to the Colts. In exchange, the Colts will send a sixth-round round pick from the Birds while sending their own seventh-round choice back to Philly.

[RELATED: Jaguars Trade QB Gardner Minshew To Eagles]

It’s a small upgrade for the Eagles, who were set to release Pryor before today’s 4pm ET/3pm CT deadline. The Eagles still have a ways to go with upwards of 20 players to drop in order to get to 53.

Pryor, 26, saw the most action of his career last year with 15 games and ten starts. With Pryor out of the picture, the Eagles are set (for now) to move forward with former Colts swing man Le’Raven Clark and Jack Driscoll for tackle support.

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/21/20

Here are Wednesday’s minor moves:

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Detroit Lions

New England Patriots

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Activated from reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Matt Pryor

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Washington Football Team

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/16/20

Here are Friday’s minor moves:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

  • Placed on IR: TE Hunter Bryant

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

  • Placed on reserve/COVID-19 list: OL Matt Pryor; Pryor did not test positive for the coronavirus, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets