On Mar. 13, the Indianapolis Colts signed free agent center Phil Costa, formerly of the Dallas Cowboys, to a two-year, $2.7 million contract. At the time, it was speculated that he’d be a backup, giving Khaled Holmes a chance to prove he was their “center of the future”. But today Costa unexpectedly announced his retirement. Though the decision comes as something of a surprise, he made it in time for all of the draft-mockers to reevaluate the Colts’ draft boards.
Costa entered the NFL undrafted out of Maryland in 2010 and spent his entire career in a Cowboys uniform. He’d played in just six games in the past two years due to injury troubles, so Colts fans always knew there was something of a risk there. But Holmes missed time last season (his rookie year) due to injuries, too.
About a month ago, the Colts were rumored to be in the Alex Mack sweepstakes, which resulted in a bidding war between the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars, making Mack the highest paid center in the league (by a lot). Would the Colts have joined the auction if Costa had retired sooner? We’ll never know, but in my opinion, even now that Costa’s retired, I think they made the right decision to let Mack go, leaving more money available to re-sign Luck and Hilton etc. in a couple of years. Regardless, now the Colts need another center on their roster in someone who can build a rapport with Andrew Luck and reliably block and help open running lanes.
For his first two seasons in the league, Luck has already taken snaps from three different centers; adding a fourth was fully expected, though they thought it would be Costa. The preseason center battle was slated to be one of the primary Colts plots to watch; now, the stakes might be getting even higher.