The Indianapolis Colts have taken a calculated gamble to fill a glaring hole on their offensive line.

According to multiple reports, the Colts have signed former number one overall pick Eric Fisher to a low-risk one-year deal.

The left tackle was released by the Kansas City Chiefs earlier in March as they remade their O-Line, Fisher having missed their Super Bowl LV blowout loss due to a torn Achilles.

Fisher may not be ready to make his return from that injury until early October, but the Colts are betting he can recapture the form that has seen him voted to the Pro Bowl twice in the past three seasons.

Can Fisher fill Castonzo void?

Fisher allowed a pressure rate of 10.9 per cent in 2020, above the league average of 8.9 per cent but a significant improvement on his 16 per cent pressure rate during a 2019 season in which he battled injuries while helping the Chiefs win Super Bowl LIV.

What helped him earn a Pro Bowl nod last season, however, was the lack of sacks he allowed. He gave up only three, though Stats Perform data credited him with four adjusted sacks, which measure pressures on sack plays, even if the pressuring defender did not bring down the quarterback.

His adjusted sack rate allowed of 0.9 per cent was bettered by just eight left tackles with at least 100 pass protection snaps.

It followed a 2019 campaign in which his adjusted sack rate allowed of 1.1 per cent put him in a five-way tie for seventh among left tackles.

The Colts will hope he can prove an effective replacement for mainstay Anthony Castonzo, who retired in the offseason.

Castonzo allowed a pressure rate of 8.4 per cent and an adjusted sack rate of 1.5 per cent in 2020.

The statistics suggest Fisher should be able to fill the void left by Castonzo, but the Colts will have to rely on Sam Tevi at left tackle if Fisher is not ready in time for the start of the season.

Tevi up to the task?

Tevi is coming off his best season in the NFL with the Chargers, allowing a pressure rate of 10.1 per cent, one sack and three adjusted sacks for an adjusted sack rate of 0.8 per cent.

He outperformed Fisher by those metrics but hasn't performed with the consistency for the Colts to be certain he can perform at that level for the long term.

Tevi allowed six sacks in 2018 and 5.5 in 2019 playing right tackle, the latter season seeing him give up a pressure rate of 15.5 per cent - tied for fifth-worst among right tackles with at least 200 snaps - and an adjusted sack rate of 2.3 per cent.

The Colts are banking on Fisher getting healthy and returning to top form if and when he does. Should he fail to do so, they will be hoping Tevi's underrated 2020 was not an anomaly.

Though the Colts are not tied to either Fisher or Tevi beyond the 2021 season, for a team with Super Bowl aspirations but starting a quarterback in Carson Wentz who was sacked a league-high 50 times for the Philadelphia Eagles last season, they need to be right about at least one of their potential Castonzo successors.

Eric Fisher, the former number one overall draft pick, has been released by the Kansas City Chiefs.

Reigning AFC champions Kansas City, who were defeated by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl, have also released starting right tackle Mitchell Schwartz.

It has been reported by NFL sources that the Chiefs will save between $12million and $18m against the salary cap by cutting the duo.

Left tackle Fisher was the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. He has played a key role in the Chiefs' success in recent seasons, with Kansas City reaching the playoffs in seven of his eight campaigns with the franchise.

After helping the Chiefs to a Super Bowl win in the 2019 season, Fisher was missing as Kansas went down 31-9 to Tom Brady's Tampa last month, having torn his Achilles tendon in the AFC Championship Game.

"I have a tremendous amount of respect for both Eric and Mitchell," Chiefs general manager Brett Veach said.

"With Eric, obviously he was the very first player that we drafted when we got to Kansas City, and we were able to watch him grow into a solid tackle for us for many years.

"With Mitchell, his durability and toughness is remarkable and he certainly left his mark on our team. These decisions are never easy, especially with guys like these, but both of these players will forever be a part of our history."

Fisher made a total of 117 appearances, with 113 coming as starts – 11 of those starts were in postseason games.

He made two Pro Bowl selections, in 2018 and 2020, while Schwartz – who struggled with a back injury last year – spent five seasons with the Chiefs after joining from the Cleveland Browns in 2016.

Schwartz started 70 regular-season games, and played from the off in Kansas City's Super Bowl triumph.

Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Eric Fisher is set to sit out Super Bowl LV against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers after suffering a torn Achilles tendon.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid confirmed the injury a day after the reigning NFL champions topped the Buffalo Bills 38-24 in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday.

Fisher – a two-time Pro Bowler after being selected first in the 2013 NFL Draft – won the Super Bowl with the Chiefs last season as Kansas City claimed their first championship in 50 years.

But the 30-year-old will not feature in back-to-back Super Bowls after being helped off the field against the Bills at Arrowhead Stadium.

Fisher played in all 15 regular-season games this campaign and both playoff matchups for the Chiefs.

Kansas City's offensive-line depth has been tested this season due to injuries and players opting out before the start of training campaign.

Ahead of the February 7 Super Bowl at Raymond Jones Stadium – the home of Tom Brady's Buccaneers – Reid told reporters on Monday: "They're talented guys.

"In some cases we've had some young guys step in and ... we've had some older guys step in. That combination has been able to get us through some games here. Most of all, I think the quarterback trusts them, as do the running backs.''

Should the Chiefs retain their crown, star quarterback Patrick Mahomes would be the youngest starting QB (25) to win multiple Super Bowls, surpassing Brady (26).

Mahomes joined Kurt Warner, Brady and Russell Wilson as the only quarterbacks to reach the Super Bowl twice in their first four NFL seasons, per NFL Research. The reigning Super Bowl MVP will have to beat Brady to join him as the only QBs to win it twice in that span.

 

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