Colts sign veteran Matt Slauson to help with offensive line
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An offensive line that needed help finally got some.
The Indianapolis Colts reinforced the interior of their line by signing veteran Matt Slauson. The one-year deal is worth $3 million, according to NFL Network.
Slauson, 32, brings a deep resume to the offensive line room. He has started 108 of 111 games since being a sixth-round draft pick of the New York Jets in 2009. He spent the last two seasons with the Chargers, starting 16 games at center in 2016 and seven at left guard in ’17.
Slauson missed the final nine games last season after suffering a biceps injury, but insisted he’s fully recovered.
“I’m totally cleared and ready to roll,’’ he said in a conference call. “I don’t have any restrictions lifting-wise or playing-wise.’’
The Colts value Slauson’s experience and interior versatility. In discussions with team officials, he said they talked of “the leadership qualities that I bring, the mental and physical toughness that I bring and they just want that influence around the team.
“The offensive line position is a very different position. There’s a lot of emotional battles that come with the physical battles.’’
He added he’s “just a guy who’s been in the league a long time and has played a lot of games. I have a real good handle and a real good understanding of those type of issues you’re going to face throughout the course of the game.’’
The Colts project their newest player to settle in at one of the guard spots.
Any addition should represent an upgrade on an offensive line that too often has failed to measure up and too often has been forced to shuffle players.
The Colts have allowed 183 sacks since the arrival of Andrew Luck in 2012, including a league-high 56 last season when Luck was sidelined with his right shoulder injuries. Backup Jacoby Brissett was sacked 52 times, the second-most endured by a Colts’ quarterback since sacks became an official statistic in 1982.
The lack of continuity has contributed to that subpar performance. The Colts have started 46 different combinations since 2012, including eight in ’17.
The only returning starters who seem to be solidly entrenched are left tackle Anthony Castonzo and center Ryan Kelly, and Kelly was limited to seven starts a year ago with a broken bone in his foot and a concussion.
Other starting possibilities include Jeremy Vujnovich, who started all 16 games at left guard and didn’t miss an offensive snap in his second year with the team; Joe Haeg, who split 14 starts a year ago at right guard and right tackle; Denzelle Good, who started three games at right tackle and one at right guard; and Le’Raven Clark, a four-game starter at right guard.
Jack Mewhort, a 2014 second-round pick who started five games at right guard before missing the rest of the season with a knee injury, is a free agent who hasn’t been re-signed at this point.