Colts shuffle 53 by claiming 5, releasing 5
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The roster shuffling continued for the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, and they’re probably not finished.
After reaching the NFL-mandated limit of 53 Saturday, the team spent Sunday tweaking and adjusting. It:
- was awarded off waivers running back Matt Jones (Washington), cornerback Pierre Desir (Seattle), cornerback Kenny Moore (New England), guard Ian Silberman (Oakland) and wide receiver Matt Hazel (Washington).
- waived quarterback Stephen Morris, offensive tackle Zach Banner and safety Ronald Martin, and released center Brian Schwenke and tight end Brandon Williams.
- began forming its 10-player practice squad by signing quarterback Phillip Walker, offensive lineman Andrew Wylie and defensive lineman Joey Mbu.
The flurry of post-cut activity did not come as a surprise. General manager Chris Ballard insisted during the offseason the Colts always would be active in upgrading the roster.
Schwenke was one of Ballard’s offseason free-agent acquisitions, but was hampered much of the offseason and training camp with a foot injury. He finally played extensively in the preseason finale against the Cincinnati Bengals, but failed to make the necessary impression.
As it currently stands – again, it will remain subject to change all season – the roster features 25 first-time Colts, including 11 rookies. There are four undrafted rookies (center Deyshawn Bond, tight end Darrell Daniels, punter Rigoberto Sanchez and Moore) which extends the team’s NFL-best active streak to 19 seasons with at least one undrafted rookie making the opening-day roster.
Schwenke signed a one-year, $1.3 million contract that included a $300,000 signing bonus. Two other of Ballard’s free-agent additions were released earlier at a cost of a cool $2 million. Punter Jeff Locke’s two-year contract included $1.25 million in guarantees while linebacker Sean Spencer’s one-year deal included $750,000 in guarantees.
With Schwenke’s release and barring another acquisition, Deyshawn Bond, an undrafted free agent and Warren Central High School product, almost assuredly is the Colts’ starting center for the Sept. 10 opener against the Los Angeles Rams.
The release of Morris caps a wild preseason for him. He never was given much of a chance to unseat Scott Tolzien as Andrew Luck’s backup and the likely starter against the Rams.
Morris was the Colts’ most effective quarterback during the preseason: 38-of-56, 399 yards, one touchdown, no interceptions.
A capsule look at the five waiver-wire additions:
RB Matt Jones: He’s 6-1, 235 pounds and was a third-round pick of the Redskins in 2015. In two seasons and 20 games, Jones has rushed 243 times for 950 yards and six touchdowns, and added 27 receptions for 377 yards and one TD. He’s averaged 3.9 yards per carry.
CB Kenny Moore: A 5-9, 179-pounder signed by the Patriots in May as an undrafted rookie out of Valdosta State. Moore appeared in 26 games at Valdosta State and registered 137 tackles, two sacks and 11 interceptions. He returned two interceptions for TDs.
G Ian Silberman: The 6-5, 294-pounder was a sixth-round pick of San Francisco in 2015. He appeared in one game as a rookie and none in 2016.
CB Pierre Desir: A 6-1, 198-pounder who appeared in 24 games, seven as a starter, for Cleveland in 2014-15 before joining the San Diego Chargers in 2016. Saw action in five games with the Chargers. Was a fourth-round pick of the Browns in 2014.
WR Matt Hazel (from Washington): The 6-1, 198-pounder was a sixth-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2014. He appeared in five games as a rookie but had no catches. Hazel spent time on the practice squads of Buffalo and Washington in 2016.