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Gil Brandt pegs Colts as landing spot for Alejandro Villanueva


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"Facing a salary-cap mess in 2021, the Steelers probably can't afford to keep Villanueva; among their pending free agents, Zach Banner looks like a potentially less costly replacement at left tackle. The Colts, meanwhile, are in need of a left tackle, with Anthony Castonzo retiring and former No. 2 overall pick Carson Wentz set to take over at quarterback. (Cam Robinson would also be appealing, but I expect Jacksonville to either re-sign him or retain him via the franchise tag.) Villanueva has started every game in the past six years and is solid in both the run game and pass protection. Indianapolis will no doubt be driven to protect its investment under center, and adding Villanueva would make a lot of sense."

 

Source: https://www.nfl.com/news/2021-nfl-free-agency-seven-intriguing-player-team-fits

 

I also personally had both Villanueva and Robinson on my radar as possible FA targets for Indianapolis this offseason. However, most of the comments I see from fans and Colts pundits alike seem to favor addressing EDGE/DE in FA and drafting a young LT. What are your thoughts?

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I believe it would be a wiser move to draft one of the tackles coming out.  This is a deep T draft class and Edge rushers are more unpredictable in the draft.  Draft the young tackle and sign an Edge who is a known rather than a possible contributor.   

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We sign Alejandro Villanueva and we have solidified our OL for the next 3-4 yrs. I think there is only maybe a couple of LTs in the draft that are ready for prime time. If we can sign him for a reasonable price we can sign a DE in free agency as well. Then we trade back in the 1st and pick up hopefully another last 1 and a 3rd and consentrate the on CBs and WRs with our first three picks. 

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How much do we really wanna spend on the line? We already paid Kelly, we have to pay Smith next off-season, and then Nelson the off-season after that.

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This is not news.  Gil Brandt put together a fantasy list of fantasy possibilities.  Nothing here says that the Colts are pursuing Villanueva, have made an offer for him, or are even thinking about him.  No reason to waste my time thinking about it unless or until somebody breaks some real news.

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12 minutes ago, John Hammonds said:

This is not news.  Gil Brandt put together a fantasy list of fantasy possibilities.  Nothing here says that the Colts are pursuing Villanueva, have made an offer for him, or are even thinking about him.  No reason to waste my time thinking about it unless or until somebody breaks some real news.

It's not meant to be news, it's a 5 day old post. I was just hoping to have a discussion about weighing the merits of prioritizing LT over DE in FA. That's all. Brandt isn't exactly a slouch. He's a hall of famer. I think it's a fascinating topic.

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Villanueva Is a good player but with extensions looming for Q, Smith and Leonard, the Colts will need to address LT in the draft to keep cost down.  I believe RG comes open next year and hopefully Pinter or another pick can fill that role.  This roster will become very top heavy and we will have to fill starting spots with players on rookie contracts and a few low cost veterans.  It will be interesting to see how Ballard juggles salaries.  
 

Did anyone else notice a former Ballard draft pick may become their starting LT?  I think that guy was a 4th rounder Ballards first year and is an absolute giant of a man. 

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4 hours ago, John Hammonds said:

This is not news.  Gil Brandt put together a fantasy list of fantasy possibilities.  Nothing here says that the Colts are pursuing Villanueva, have made an offer for him, or are even thinking about him.  No reason to waste my time thinking about it unless or until somebody breaks some real news.

They couldn’t if they wanted too. Not until March 15th....

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4 hours ago, AwesomeAustin said:

Villanueva Is a good player but with extensions looming for Q, Smith and Leonard, the Colts will need to address LT in the draft to keep cost down.  I believe RG comes open next year and hopefully Pinter or another pick can fill that role.  This roster will become very top heavy and we will have to fill starting spots with players on rookie contracts and a few low cost veterans.  It will be interesting to see how Ballard juggles salaries.  
 

Did anyone else notice a former Ballard draft pick may become their starting LT?  I think that guy was a 4th rounder Ballards first year and is an absolute giant of a man. 

I think your thinking of Zach Banner.

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4 hours ago, JoeThornburg said:

It's not meant to be news, it's a 5 day old post. I was just hoping to have a discussion about weighing the merits of prioritizing LT over DE in FA. That's all. Brandt isn't exactly a slouch. He's a hall of famer. I think it's a fascinating 

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I was thinking about this yesterday, and I think it's actually essential that the Colts sign a tackle in FA. They don't need to spend big, but finding a league average guy for like 1/$8m would be fantastic.

 

The Colts definitely also need to address tackle in the draft. However, if they go into the draft without a league average tackle, they have to take one with pick 21 (or trade back slightly and take one with the new pick). Even if s great player falls there - Kwitty Paye, one of the good corners or receivers, etc. - they'll be forced to pass on them and take a tackle because they have nothing else there.

 

If someone like AV is signed, a league average starter would already be in place, and you would have maximum flexibility to take whoever you want with pick 21.

 

If it's a non-tackle that you can't pass on, you can take him. If it's a tackle that you want, you can take him and actually have depth at tackle for a change. If you are comfortable trading back and still taking a tackle later, you can do that too. 

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Drafting a LT is the wiser move in my opinion. The T class is deep this year and I would favor spending the money on one or even two young, promising edge rushers like Carl Lawson and/or Trey Hendrickson. WR is also a FA target if the right one is available.

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11 hours ago, danlhart87 said:

LT should be addressed in draft

EDGE and WR should be addressed FA

I would very much agree with this

 

This is the year to get a LT in the draft, even in the second round...... There appears to be some immediate starter quality

 

We need the Cap savings of a rookie contract, at this key position

 

Also, as mentioned, playing next to Q. Nelson will assist greatly

 

DE is a huge need, if we want to actually have a chance to get past KC.

 

I am starting to think that TE is a bigger need than WR

 

I think we will see how the draft plays out, and pick up a tier 2 FA in an area of need

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4 hours ago, Mackrel829 said:

I was thinking about this yesterday, and I think it's actually essential that the Colts sign a tackle in FA. They don't need to spend big, but finding a league average guy for like 1/$8m would be fantastic.

 

The Colts definitely also need to address tackle in the draft. However, if they go into the draft without a league average tackle, they have to take one with pick 21 (or trade back slightly and take one with the new pick). Even if s great player falls there - Kwitty Paye, one of the good corners or receivers, etc. - they'll be forced to pass on them and take a tackle because they have nothing else there.

 

If someone like AV is signed, a league average starter would already be in place, and you would have maximum flexibility to take whoever you want with pick 21.

 

If it's a non-tackle that you can't pass on, you can take him. If it's a tackle that you want, you can take him and actually have depth at tackle for a change. If you are comfortable trading back and still taking a tackle later, you can do that too. 

 

I think, like always, Ballard will surprise.

 

Its easy to predict an OT in round 1, in this draft

 

But......

 

He may repeat and trade 21, to get a young All Pro CB player like Lattimore (Signed to an extension)

New Orleans is 100M over the cap, and will be blood letting to get in line

 

A top line CB like Lattimore (and a little improvement in PR) would make a good defense, a top 5 defense

 

If we keep our pick, 

If Paye is there at 21,  I would have a hard time NOT taking him, I would think you would draft him, then try to improve your second pick (if needed) to get one of the tackles

 

Interesting time of year.... endless possibilities

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12 hours ago, danlhart87 said:

LT should be addressed in draft

EDGE and WR should be addressed FA

 

This is my ideal scenario. Spend big on edge. Spend small on wideout. Come away from the draft with a starting LT & a stud corner (or at least someone to put pressure on Rock). This gets us to the Super Bowl imo.

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25 minutes ago, MikeCurtis said:

 

I think, like always, Ballard will surprise.

 

Its easy to predict an OT in round 1, in this draft

 

But......

 

He may repeat and trade 21, to get a young All Pro CB player like Lattimore (Signed to an extension)

New Orleans is 100M over the cap, and will be blood letting to get in line

 

A top line CB like Lattimore (and a little improvement in PR) would make a good defense, a top 5 defense

 

If we keep our pick, 

If Paye is there at 21,  I would have a hard time NOT taking him, I would think you would draft him, then try to improve your second pick (if needed) to get one of the tackles

 

Interesting time of year.... endless possibilities

I know this is an tackle-thread, so, sorry for off topic but..

 

I honestly think putting a lot of money into the secondary is overrated. Every play starts at the line of scrimmage and if we consistently win in the trenches on defense the defensive backs' work is way easier. Spending big on a CB or a S is like admitting defeat in the trenches. This is not to say we can just dump those positions, but average to good DBs are fine if the D-line is elite.

 

I know I'm going to catch flack for the above, but I think spending big on one or two DEs gives the defense a lot more value than a CB.

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27 minutes ago, MikeCurtis said:

He may repeat and trade 21, to get a young All Pro CB player like Lattimore (Signed to an extension)

New Orleans is 100M over the cap, and will be blood letting to get in line

I think that works in specific instances, but you can't consistently load up on all-pro talents via trade and maintain a balanced roster. You're not only using top draft capital to acquire top talent, but also having to pay top $$ contracts to these guys. With Q, Leonard, and Smith extensions coming up, we'd be hard pressed to be able to afford them & sign a guy like Lattimore. 

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12 hours ago, danlhart87 said:

LT should be addressed in draft

EDGE and WR should be addressed FA

 

I beg to differ. OL and pass rushing, it takes time for OL and pass rushers to develop strength, moves and counter moves against NFL caliber guys in the trenches, experience does matter. WR - look at the WRs from last year from CeeDee Lamb to Chase Claypool to Tee Higgins to our own Pittman, ROI on rookie investments is pretty good for RBs (our own Taylor) and WRs typically from the draft.

 

Plus, it opens up BPA options and trade down options in the draft for Ballard, IMO. I would prefer LT and pass rush being addressed in free agency. We can still draft a Day 2 tackle and develop in this deep draft for tackles but there is no substitute for experience on the OL, IMO. 

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I would sign a Joe Haeg or Kelvin Beachum for a short stop gap at LT. You can draft a developmental guy this year but doesn’t have to be first round. In FA I am spending big on DE and maybe a CB. Draft is loaded with WR’s that can be impactful right away. 
 

You can go after a Clowney type guy who could be good and you will get a small cap number this year.  You would want to double down though so either bring back Houston or go after a Bud Depree Lawson type guy as well. Just thinking out loud. 

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30 minutes ago, Solid84 said:

I know this is an tackle-thread, so, sorry for off topic but..

 

I honestly think putting a lot of money into the secondary is overrated. Every play starts at the line of scrimmage and if we consistently win in the trenches on defense the defensive backs' work is way easier. Spending big on a CB or a S is like admitting defeat in the trenches. This is not to say we can just dump those positions, but average to good DBs are fine if the D-line is elite.

 

I know I'm going to catch flack for the above, but I think spending big on one or two DEs gives the defense a lot more value than a CB.

If I had to guess, LT is where we go with our first pick (I do think we trade back a bit)

 

My bigger point is that Ballard seems to go a way unexpected in every draft

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25 minutes ago, Shive said:

I think that works in specific instances, but you can't consistently load up on all-pro talents via trade and maintain a balanced roster. You're not only using top draft capital to acquire top talent, but also having to pay top $$ contracts to these guys. With Q, Leonard, and Smith extensions coming up, we'd be hard pressed to be able to afford them & sign a guy like Lattimore. 

Again....  Ballard seems to do the unexpected on draft day

Pick 21 could go many different ways

 

But.... trading the pick is an option

 

Most top defenses have at least one, tier 1 CB, that could shut down a top reciever if needed

.....  There were times we couldnt stop the pass last year

 

Lattimore is a unique talent in that he tackles well vs the run as well as being a great CB1 vs the pass

 

I'm not saying its going to happen, but we do need improvement in CB play on this defense

 

 

 

 

 

 

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12 hours ago, JoeThornburg said:

It's not meant to be news, it's a 5 day old post. I was just hoping to have a discussion about weighing the merits of prioritizing LT over DE in FA. That's all. Brandt isn't exactly a slouch. He's a hall of famer. I think it's a fascinating topic.

Sorry, no offense intended.  You are right - it's a fascinating topic.  I guess I just get triggered by every FB "news" post that says "team X trades for this player!  (in our new mock draft that doesn't mean anything)."

 

To contribute to your hypothetical, I would be concerned about spending large dollars on both a free agent QB and a free agent LT, leaving very few dollars left to re-sign my own free agent players.

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39 minutes ago, John Hammonds said:

Sorry, no offense intended.  You are right - it's a fascinating topic.  I guess I just get triggered by every FB "news" post that says "team X trades for this player!  (in our new mock draft that doesn't mean anything)."

 

To contribute to your hypothetical, I would be concerned about spending large dollars on both a free agent QB and a free agent LT, leaving very few dollars left to re-sign my own free agent players.

 

 

From a cap point of view, it does make sense to get a stop gap swing tackle and draft one, that I would agree with.

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4 hours ago, MikeCurtis said:

 

I think, like always, Ballard will surprise.

 

Its easy to predict an OT in round 1, in this draft

 

But......

 

He may repeat and trade 21, to get a young All Pro CB player like Lattimore (Signed to an extension)

New Orleans is 100M over the cap, and will be blood letting to get in line

 

A top line CB like Lattimore (and a little improvement in PR) would make a good defense, a top 5 defense

 

If we keep our pick, 

If Paye is there at 21,  I would have a hard time NOT taking him, I would think you would draft him, then try to improve your second pick (if needed) to get one of the tackles

 

Interesting time of year.... endless possibilities

 

I would be fantastically excited if that happened. Lattimore with the 21st pick and a tackle with the 2nd rounder. Just imagine.

 

I would imagine Ballard would be outbid if he offered #21 though. Ramsey went for two firsts and a second so I have to think Lattimore would go for more than one mid-late first. The Saints would have very little leverage but the Jags had next to none when Ramsey wanted out. 

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1 hour ago, Mackrel829 said:

 

I would be fantastically excited if that happened. Lattimore with the 21st pick and a tackle with the 2nd rounder. Just imagine.

 

I would imagine Ballard would be outbid if he offered #21 though. Ramsey went for two firsts and a second so I have to think Lattimore would go for more than one mid-late first. The Saints would have very little leverage but the Jags had next to none when Ramsey wanted out. 

What would you pay Latimore. He is a FA next year so you trade for him and then have to pay him what 15mil per year. I don’t see Ballard doing that. 

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2 hours ago, Mackrel829 said:

 

I would be fantastically excited if that happened. Lattimore with the 21st pick and a tackle with the 2nd rounder. Just imagine.

 

I would imagine Ballard would be outbid if he offered #21 though. Ramsey went for two firsts and a second so I have to think Lattimore would go for more than one mid-late first. The Saints would have very little leverage but the Jags had next to none when Ramsey wanted out. 

I think he might be had for less, because he is on the last year of his contract

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17 hours ago, CR91 said:

How much do we really wanna spend on the line? We already paid Kelly, we have to pay Smith next off-season, and then Nelson the off-season after that.

Also paid 52 mil for QBs last year that they aren't now.... Not to mention ACs hit.... They can afford a LT and all the re signs....this team handles the cap extremely judiciously.

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3 hours ago, Shafty138 said:

Also paid 52 mil for QBs last year that they aren't now.... Not to mention ACs hit.... They can afford a LT and all the re signs....this team handles the cap extremely judiciously.

 

Not when we're gonna have to pay 50 mil a year most likely after we re-sign Nelson, Leonard, and Smith

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11 hours ago, MikeCurtis said:

If we keep our pick, 

If Paye is there at 21,  I would have a hard time NOT taking him, I would think you would draft him, then try to improve your second pick (if needed) to get one of the tackles

 

Interesting time of year.... endless possibilities

Paye is definitely one I have eyes on. Not for nothing I realize the concerns people may have about drafting another young edge/de. He is raw but man, such explosive potential.

 

11 hours ago, chad72 said:

 

I beg to differ. OL and pass rushing, it takes time for OL and pass rushers to develop strength, moves and counter moves against NFL caliber guys in the trenches, experience does matter. WR - look at the WRs from last year from CeeDee Lamb to Chase Claypool to Tee Higgins to our own Pittman, ROI on rookie investments is pretty good for RBs (our own Taylor) and WRs typically from the draft.

 

Plus, it opens up BPA options and trade down options in the draft for Ballard, IMO. I would prefer LT and pass rush being addressed in free agency. We can still draft a Day 2 tackle and develop in this deep draft for tackles but there is no substitute for experience on the OL, IMO. 

That's also my thinking on this as well. It does take time for both positions to develop polish. I feel like the prevailing wisdom also tells us that we typically see tackles able to play their position at a high level later into their careers as well. Conversely, edge production tends to taper off after 30, historically speaking. If you look at the guys like Watt, Clowney, Matthews, heck even Bud Dupree, they get banged up and lose their edge, no pun intended. I feel as though it's just the nature of the position. I'd consider a guy like Ngakoue as he's still young. His production has dropped off since being in the 3-4 in Baltimore and you might be able to get him relatively cheap as a result. Outside of that, I don't see the sense in paying  $15M+ for a DE over 30 with question marks. The only other guy I would seriously look at would be Trey Hendrickson, but you also have to consider that he was paired up with Cameron Jordan as they both had very productive years. He could do well paired up with a 3 tech guy like Bucker.

 

10 hours ago, Derakynn said:

Rather draft one. Maybe he was injured, but Villanueva was getting manhandled in the Steelers games I saw at the end of the year. 

I understand that point, but I also feel most of that bad film was due to the complete and utter lack of anything resembling a rushing attack in Pittsburgh. That, and their entire offensive line has aged. Villanueva also doesn't have the NFL miles on his body relative to his peers at his age.

 

Going after a guy like Trent Williams is a bit rich for my blood though, especially with the Jets and Jags sitting on tons of cap space. That could be an interesting move to keep an eye on since he has a no tag clause in his contract this year. Some guys seem to think Jacksonville will tag Robinson but they are going to have Trevor Lawrence coming in on a rookie deal and could offer Williams a bag and a half to come there, depending on what he wants the rest of his career to look like. That would free up Robinson who could be a relatively inexpensive option at LT. 

 

9 hours ago, John Hammonds said:

Sorry, no offense intended.  You are right - it's a fascinating topic.  I guess I just get triggered by every FB "news" post that says "team X trades for this player!  (in our new mock draft that doesn't mean anything)."

 

To contribute to your hypothetical, I would be concerned about spending large dollars on both a free agent QB and a free agent LT, leaving very few dollars left to re-sign my own free agent players.

No worries. I try to be careful with that. I'll quote a guy like Brandt or Greg Cosell, but when Tannenbaum was running his mouth about the Wentz trade I took the high road on that one. LOL.

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12 hours ago, DaColts85 said:

I would sign a Joe Haeg or Kelvin Beachum for a short stop gap at LT. You can draft a developmental guy this year but doesn’t have to be first round. In FA I am spending big on DE and maybe a CB. Draft is loaded with WR’s that can be impactful right away. 
 

You can go after a Clowney type guy who could be good and you will get a small cap number this year.  You would want to double down though so either bring back Houston or go after a Bud Depree Lawson type guy as well. Just thinking out loud. 

I personally do not like the idea of trying to come up with a stop gap or developmental guy at the most inportant position on the OL. Solidify that position with a dependable proven LT whether it  Villanueva or someone else. Same with DE. Find a proven pass rusher and pay him. Use the draft or WR, CB and solidifying other positions including OL. I think we are very close to being in  SB contention and 3 to 4 good players may push us over the top. We can't foolishly throw money at these guys but if we are prudent we have plenty of money to carry us.

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21 minutes ago, hoosierhawk said:

I personally do not like the idea of trying to come up with a stop gap or developmental guy at the most inportant position on the OL. Solidify that position with a dependable proven LT whether it  Villanueva or someone else. Same with DE. Find a proven pass rusher and pay him. Use the draft or WR, CB and solidifying other positions including OL. I think we are very close to being in  SB contention and 3 to 4 good players may push us over the top. We can't foolishly throw money at these guys but if we are prudent we have plenty of money to carry us.

It does all start in the trenches. I firmly believe that. One thing I will say about that is Pittsburgh has also drafted talent at WR, but they never pay them long terms unless it's a guy like Ward. I really think Pittman could have a break out season this year. I'd love to see him workout with Wentz.

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I will be very surprised if we spend a lot on a left tackle. We've built one of the best lines by drafting them. I expect that to continue.

It doesn't seem like a smart use of money to spend that much on one part of the team.  We don't have that much money to spend when you take into account what we'll play Leonard, Smith and Nelson. I hope we spend the money on a defensive end and corner.

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Personally, I'm hoping we spend on a veteran left tackle.    Hopefully a two-year deal.    I can't think of anything smarter than insurance at the most critical position on the offensive line.     Not spending on LT because you've spent a good amount on the other OL spot strikes me as penny wise and pound foolish.    You're going to go inexpensive at the key spot just when you're bringing in a QB who everyone recognizes needs to be fixed.     Don't you want to invest in protection for him. 

 

And I'm not ruling out spending a 1st or 2nd round pick on our future LT.   But that guy likely won't be able to start and play at a high level from the beginning of his rookie year.    He's going to need time to get up to speed.   And we can't afford time.  We want Carson to feel safe and secure and not hearing footsteps from behind him.   

 

I don't know if this will happen....   but I'm hoping it does....

 

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13 hours ago, DaColts85 said:

What would you pay Latimore. He is a FA next year so you trade for him and then have to pay him what 15mil per year. I don’t see Ballard doing that. 

 

I doubt it happens too but that defence with a top 5 corner would be incredible. $15m would be a starting point. It would probably be more like $17-18m. 

 

12 hours ago, MikeCurtis said:

I think he might be had for less, because he is on the last year of his contract

 

Potentially. A 1st and 3rd? Would you rather have Lattimore or Wentz? :o

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I think Lattimore would be a huge step in making our defense one of the best in the league. I'd like to try to add him and Lawson. The rest of our money should go for re-signing our guys.

No way I see us drafting a left tackle in the first round and not starting him.

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52 minutes ago, Orioles22 said:

I think Lattimore would be a huge step in making our defense one of the best in the league. I'd like to try to add him and Lawson. The rest of our money should go for re-signing our guys.

No way I see us drafting a left tackle in the first round and not starting him.

If you want Latimore then that first round pick is gone plus you have to resign him. So between him and Lawson you pay probably around 25+mil per year combined. There goes majority of your cap so signing other guys will be slim pickings. Plus you now hope for a second round LT to start right away. Seems doubtful. 

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