The sudden retirement of recent free agent signing PhilCosta has the Indianapolis Colts questioning their depth at the center position. Earlier, this year the Colts rightly decided to cut Samson Satele and save $4.4 million in cap space. Many Colts fans were anticipating a signing of Alex Mack or Brian De La Puente‘s caliber, but it never came. Instead, the Colts signed Costa to a two-year, $2.7 million deal.
Costa was primarily signed to be a backup to last year’s fourth-round selection Khaled Holmes. The signing meant one of two things: that the Colts coaching staff are confident in Holmes going forward, or that they will be addressing the center position early in the draft. With not many draft picks this year and glaring needs at both the safety and corner position, it would seem highly unlikely that the Colts will take a center at No. 59 in the 2014 NFL Draft.
That leaves Holmes and what will most likely be a late-round lineman in Tyler Larsen of Utah State, Gabe Ikard of Oklahoma or Bryan Stork of Florida State has the only center options to push him. There is, however, another option for the Colts in former San Francisco 49ers player Jonathan Goodwin. Goodwin is currently the top of a very barren pool of available offensive lineman in free agency.
Goodwin would offer a lot more at the center position then Costa would have. According to Pro Football Focus, Goodwin finished the season with a +5.8 overall grade, which placed him as the 14th-best center in the league. To put that into perspective, Satele finished with -12.9 overall grade, placing him 31st in the league.
Goodwin excels as a run blocker, finishing seventh in the league with an overall grade of +6.9, but his pass blocking is a concern with a grade lower than Satele’s. A player like Goodwin would be great for the Colts in that he is good enough to be a starting center in the league, but at the same time he is easily reachable for Holmes and thus can motivate him.
Offensive line coach Joe Gilbert has expressed his desire to have competition for spots on his line, and Goodwin would offer more than that. Coming from the tough NFC West, Goodwin knows what it is like to be in a dogfight. While Goodwin will not be a Jeff Saturday to Andrew Luck, he does help solve the depth problem at the center position and will give the Colts options heading into the 2014 season.
He can offer some healthy competition and at the very least an upgrade over Satele, and at this point in the free agency period, he should not cost the Colts top dollar.