Editor’s note: Please welcome Brent Fatig to the Colts Authority writing team. Brent will be bringing us up-to-date transaction news throughout the season, and this week marks his inaugural post. You can find him on Twitter @GoHorse88 – KJR
As the Colts enter a week with no game to prepare for this Sunday, they have done some roster adjustment to prepare for when they do return to action hosting Green Bay on October 7th. The Colts have sent WR Austin Collie to their Injured-Reserve list and cut veteran offensive lineman Trai Essex. To take their places on the 53-man roster the Colts have signed 4th-year CB Darius Butler and rookie WR Nathan Palmer.
Given that Vontae Davis and Justin King both came out of the Jaguars game with injuries described as “week-to-week,” the Colts signed a once highly-touted talent in Darius Butler (5’10”-185lbs). Butler was a former 2nd-Round draft pick of the New England Patriots out of the University of Connecticut. Known as an athletic ball-hawk in college, he even gathered some attention with the dubious “shut-down” label at certain times in college.
After starting 8 games through his first two years in the NFL, he lost favor with the Patriots after his 3rd training camp and was waived with two years remaining on his rookie contract. The Panthers quickly claimed him off waivers last year and he ended up starting 6 games for them during the 2011 season. He was waived/injured by the Panthers at the end of this year’s training camp with a concussion and shortly released from Carolina’s IR. Since then, he’s gathered some interest from teams, having visited the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders in the recent weeks. According to Butler, during the draft, the Baltimore Ravens showed a good deal of interest, so you would imagine former Ravens secondary coach, Chuck Pagano sees something worth cultivating in Butler.
With Collie to IR, the Colts will try to develop additional depth at WR with a player the Colts’ front office has clearly had their eye on in Nathan Palmer (5’11”-195lbs). He was signed off the San Francisco 49er’s Practice Squad and had some early offseason praise from 49ers beat writers, saying he looked better in practice than their 1st Round selection, WR A.J. Jenkins out of University of Illinois. Palmer played his college ball at Northern Illinois University and was a favorite target for Colts’ 3rd-string QB Chandler Harnish. He actually attended the Colts’ local prospect workout (along with Indiana-native Harnish) prior to the draft, having attending Elkhart Central High School. He certainly brings a requisite quality for Bruce Arians’ offense in the form of 4.3-range speed.
Sadly, for Austin Collie and the Colts this may mark the end of the road. Snake-bitten for much of his NFL career, he played 2 full seasons and then only 10 other games between his 4 years with the team. Optimism says maybe this just makes him easier to re-sign and drives down any market he has from other teams, but from what we’ve seen so far of Ryan Grigson, any Polian-era draft picks who are injury-prone don’t really get the benefit of the doubt. If this is in fact the end of the line for Collie, he will end his time with the Colts with 173 receptions, 1845 yards and 16 touchdowns. Here’s wishing him the best with from a health and career-perspective.
Alternatively, I’m not convinced that Trai Essex’ release NECESSARILY means it’s the end of the road for him as a Colt. As a vested veteran, he can be released without being subjected to waivers this early in the season. He could have a wink-wink, nudge-nudge arrangement with the Colts to stay by his phone much like we’ve seen with the previous regime’s draft pick Michael Toudouze in the past. If he’s still available at the end of the BYE and both Joe Reitz and Samson Satele aren’t 100%, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Essex back under contract. Stay tuned there.
Also, in more of a house-keeping roster move the Colts released CB Korey Lindsey from off of the IR list with an injury settlement