The Colts have officially placed guard Donald Thomas on Injured Reserve. Thomas, who’s season ended after he tore a quad in week two last year, suffered the same injury in practice yesterday.
Thomas played well in his limited time and is under contract for 2015 and 2016, but he’ll have to have some better luck to shake the dreaded “injury prone” label. It isn’t fair, his situation doesn’t get any easier, as the team could save $3,250,000 (accounting for 500,000 in “dead” money) by letting him go next year – well above rookie and possible new starter Jack Mewhort’s 2015 cap hit of $812,000.
In Thomas’s place, Indianapolis signed undrafted rookie free agent tackle Eric Pike, who was a Colt for two days back in May. From the Colts press release:
Pike, 6-5, 298 pounds, was originally signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent on May 13, 2014 and was waived on May 15. He was a four-year starter at left tackle for Towson and was a co-captain during his senior season. In 2013, Pike was named a Football Championship Series All-America selection as the Tigers compiled a 10-2 regular season record while reaching the NCAA FCS Championship Game. He also earned All-CAA first-team honors for the second straight season. Pike capped his collegiate career having started in all 49 games he appeared in. As a junior, he started all 11 games and blocked for a Tigers offense that averaged more than 31.0 points per game as Towson reached the Colonial Athletic Association championship.
Thomas has played in 45 career games (23 starts) over the past six years of his NFL career. In 2013, he started two games for the Colts before being placed on Injured Reserve on September 17, 2013. Thomas was originally signed by the team as an unrestricted free agent on March 13, 2013.
Meanwhile, Jack Mewhort appears to be the starter at left guard for the foreseeable future, barring any major injury or inability to produce. Behind him are more experience guards in Joe Reitz, a 2012 Colts starter, and Lance Louis, who lost his starting job to injury in Chicago 11 games into the 2012 season.
Neither is a Pro Bowler, but both players have held their own as starters in the past. So the pressure is on Mewhort to hold them off. Meanwhile, for the sake of the offense and Andrew Luck’s long-term health, may the best man win.