Vikings.com has announced that former Colts offensive tackle/guard Charlie Johnson has left Indianapolis for Minnesota. This news follows the rumor yesterday that the Colts were having a difficult time working with Johnson on a new contract. It seems that Johnson wanted a more lucrative deal than what the front office in Indy was willing to offer.
Ultimately, the team has lost its most experienced and dynamic offensive linemen. If Johnson moved inside to guard because both rookie offensive tackles made successful transitions to the outside, he would be a big upgrade over either of the team’s guard in 2010. If he moved to right tackle, there is every indication that he would give the Colts and the team’s fans more security than Ryan Diem offers.
There has been some interesting off-season action in-house for the Colts that has surprised a lot of people. Understanding the reasons behind cutting Kelvin Hayden is no more difficult than looking ahead to 2012 and realizing that new contracts for Robert Mathis, Reggie Wayne, and Pierre Garcon will be much easier to finalize when Hayden’s full contract off of the books. Keeping Ryan Diem seems as much like a move made per Manning’s strong request, as it was for the front office really wanting to bring him back into the fold.
Letting Charlie Johnson walk only make sense if there is a financial reason. If Johnson was refusing to sign for a reasonable figure, news will surface soon that the Vikings paid an unreasonable amount. If the Colts sign a free agent offensive lineman or defensive lineman in the next couple of days, it could be that the team was unwilling to sing until they finished up negotiations with another player. In either case, I will be slightly upset and baffled if Johnson signed a reasonable deal with the Vikings, the Colts had the money to afford paying him, and Indianapolis does not use that free money to make an improvement to their current roster.