reportedly a 7th round pick contingent upon Shipley making Baltimore's roster]In an unexpected bit of news Thursday morning, the Colts' have traded center A.Q. Shipley to the Baltimore Ravens for a conditional draft pick in 2014. [UPDATE: The pick is
After drafting Khaled Holmes in the 4th round of the 2013 draft, the Colts had three centers on the roster, as well as ten interior linemen competing for three spots. Meanwhile, the retirement of Matt Birk in Baltimore left the team thin at center.
Shipley was a seventh round pick by the Steelers in 2009, and had bounce around practice squads before the Colts picked him up last January. He started five games in 2012 and played over 450 snaps.
The depth at interior offensive line meant the Colts could afford to let Shipley go. Shipley also doesn't quite fit the style of lineman the Colts seem to want in their new offense. The Colts drafted Khaled Holmes and Hugh Thornton in the draft, two players who have quick feet and can pull out and move to the second level easily. Shipley is about 15 pounds heavier than Holmes and Satele, and isn't quite as mobile, although he does anchor in pass protection better.
All that being said, I'm not a fan of the move. Shipley was an unexpected bright spot in 2012, filling in quite well for Samson Satele at center and being able to fill in at guard in a pinch. Shipley, along with Joe Lefeged, was one player who was quite simply better than the player he was replacing last season.
By the end of the season, Shipley had received great reviews from ProFootballFocus, receiving positive overall grades in every category. Shipley, Andrew Luck, and Reggie Wayne were the only Colts' to accomplish that particular feat. Unlike Satele, Shipley was consistent. He wasn't always great, but he never really had a bad game. He also was incredibly disciplined, finishing the season as the league's only starting center to not be called for a penalty. PFF was actually in the midst of writing a piece on Shipley being a "Secret Superstar" for the Colts when the news was announced.
Yes, the Colts had excess at center, but I much rather would have seen the Colts either let the players have the competition in camp or simply cut Satele. Shipley was better than Satele in 2012, is a cheaper option, and was a fan favorite. If it wasn't for a minor knee issue at the end of last season, he should have taken Satele's job from him outright.
When looking at the situation, you can see where Grigson may be coming from, although the following scenario likely isn't one Colts' fans want to think about.
After drafting Khaled Holmes in the fourth round, the Colts were looking to have three centers in camp. One of the three was likely to be cut. With Shipley playing so well last season, it was a very real possibility that he would outperform both Satele and Holmes in training camp. If that occurred, Grigson would have been put in a very tight spot.
If he releases Satele, it's an admission that last summer's big contract and ensuing praise throughout the offseason was a mistake, and one that costed the Colts money.
If he releases Holmes, even in an attempt to get him onto the practice squad, it's an admission that a HUGE mistake was made in the drafting process. Holmes isn't worth a fourth round pick if he can't even make the roster.
By shipping Shipley off to Baltimore, Grigson avoids having to potentially make those admissions.
Although nobody wants to believe this about their GM, especially one who has done as good of a job as Grigson has, pride can get in the way. We saw it with Bill Polian at times when drafted players were kept on longer than necessary. While Polian was still a very good, even great general manager (and Grigson can be as well), pride can be incredibly detrimental to a franchise. Derek Schultze said it best:
@coltsauth_kyle Grigson, or any other successful GM, can't worry about embarrassment. Sometimes, winning requires swallow your pride.— Derek Schultz (@Schultz1260) May 9, 2013
I don't want to believe this about Grigson. I really like what he did in Indianapolis in 2012, and hope that kind of success can continue, creating a lont-term dynasty with Andrew Luck similar to what Polian and Peyton Manning did. But it also shouldn't be ignored.
This move isn't a back-breaker by any means, but I'm not a fan of it, especially if Holmes proves to be inadequate at center. Satele will cost $3.8 and $5.4 million in the next two years, and the Colts need a contingency plan.
I think it is simple, while I liked Shipley(even when he came from college) he is not what the Colts are looking for right now for one reason or another, obviously we are really working on running the ball next year, and feel that Shipley is not the long term answer for that scheme, Holmes might not be either but instead of waiting around with him 3rd on the depth chart lets give him a chance to show us what he has, hopefully he develops and if not we go in a different direction. Not sure he will beat out Satele in the offseason but I sure am hoping he does.
Two final things, Holmes is actually a guy that I thought the Colts might target at one point, and him getting picked in the 4th did not come from no where, maybe the Colts picking him in the 4th after seeing what they did was a surprise but I don't think it was radical. He has a decent amount of upside, but has obvious weaknesses.
Last thing, believe it or not this team is still in a rebuilding process, maybe not as big as it was last year, but we definitely did not finish it last year and it will continue throughout this year.
The whole "Secret Superstar" article part of the argument is void if you think Samson Satele is horrible. You should realize the wrote the same "secret Superstar" article on Samson Satele last season when we picked him up.
Wtf? The only way this makes sense is if we were just going to cut Shipley and not give him a chance to make the squad. I don't get it....
Woof. This is officially a crap trade. Shipping off a proven starter with a rookie as your only depth for a conditional 7th is not a good decision, at all.
I loved our draft haul last year, but most of the other personnel moves Grigson has made, from McGlynn to Walden, have been pretty questionable. I'm really wondering whether he's actually a very good GM. Next season will be big.
I reiterate: The Colts have now traded A.Q. Shipley and the 2013 fourth round pick for Khaled Holmes and a 2014 conditional seventh round pick. I didn't like the Holmes pick when it was made and I don't like it now. Although, if he starts for the Colts by 2014, things look a little better. Unfortunately, Shipley might have been able to do that and the fourth rounder this year could have been better used. I genuinely hope that going with Holmes is as good a decision as Grigson seems to think it is.
You know, after a day of moaning about this on Twitter, then reflecting afterwards, I've come to this conclusion: We may be making far too big a deal about this. I still don't like it because it was a case of keeping the inferior player. But at the same time, it's not like Indy was trading away a Pro Bowl caliber guy; he'd been working his way to the Colts from multiple practice squads. Sure, he was the better player than Satele, but does that mean he was worth keeping overall? Is his departure - admittedly a downgrade - really THAT big a blow to the team? Is a 4th rounder really too little to get in exchange?
Yes, I know we can talk about the importance of the center position, how interior blocking is very necessary to keep a QB alive as well as a running game effective, how you can't have a schlub making mistakes, yadda yadda, but this isn't a case of replacing Satele with an ideal center; it's a case of choosing between him and Shipley. Again, there's no question Shipley outperformed Satele, but once again, was it significant enough of a difference to outweigh the draft pick and thus future draft flexibility in exchange?
My overall point here is that we may be accidentally magnifying the effect of his departure.
Yes, Shipley was clearly the better center last year. But if we don't consider the entire context, we might miss the mark in and become overly virulent over an issue that justifies nothing more than limited critique.
I think it is perfectly reasonable to examine Grigson's motives here.
What Colts fan can forget the immortal Gilbert Gardner? Gardner continued to play long after it was more than apparent to anyone watching that he was not doing the job. But this turned out to be a case that even the great Tony Dungy continued to ride a bad horse when no one could understand why.
Coaches and GMs are human. Even the best ones make mistakes and misjudge players. All the time players either because of money or draft position or just reputation, get favorable treatment over "better" players.
My guess is that Shipley had much more appeal to the Ravens than Sartele. It was Shipley or nothing and the Colts took the draft pick and ran with it. But to ignore the potential of Grigson having a human bias... is blindly foolhardy.
IMO Kyle did a great job of raising a resonable concern, without being Skip Bayless-like raving mad.
There is a ton of speculation on this move, so I don't want to contribute more. What I will say is that I don't like trading away the depth on the interior line and I thought Shipley was the only healthy bright spot in that area last year. I also hope we got at least a conditional fourth in compensation to make this worth our while.
I can see where you're coming from and where everyone else is coming from. But everything at this point is a speculation. Right now we just have to wait and see how things turn out.
Also I feel like people are forgetting that it's going to be a different type of offense. And we will have different o-line scheme.. there every chance that satele might flourish in it. But again.. we'll have to wait and see
I 100% agree that Grigson hasn't earned our blind trust yet, but I feel he has earned the right to be above the "Grigson just made this trade because he's wrong about something and too proud to admit it" speculations. That kind of nonsense is why I stopped reading other blogs.
So, the Colts draft a Center in the fourth round, passing on some other talent that could have better fit holes now and in the future (Patton is a player that comes to mind) to go alongside two other Centers on the roster. They then trade away the better performing of the two Centers on the roster, feeling as though this new rookie must be at least as good as him. Oh, and we are hoping(!) the Colts get a fourth rounder in 2014 for this! So what happened? The Colts traded A.Q. Shipley (proven to be decent at least) and the 2013 fourth round pick for Khaled Holmes (unproven and possibly a reach as a fourth rounder) and a 2014 conditional draft pick. The only way that makes sense is if Khaled Holmes works out to be "The Guy" going forward. I hope he does now.
For the record, I don't get this whole "We owe Grigson our trust" BS that seems to be filling the air in Colts' fandom these days. I agree that Grigson earned a decent amount of respect for last year's draft. That class was awesome and will be for years - even looking outside the pick of Andrew Luck. But it was just one year. If anyone offers up just a slight hint of criticism towards Grigson, for some reason, the need to reaffirm our vows to Grigson arises as if he has earned the right to not be questioned. If someone voices concerns that are valid, that's all he/she is doing. Nobody is calling Grigson a worthless idiot. Just voicing concerns. So I would ask that, as fans, we not jump down someone's throat for voicing concerns and act as if it is a mortal sin to criticize Grigson at all. We all love the team. Criticism is and should be part of the conversation.
Easy there, Kyle... this article has more than a little bit of Brad Wells in it:
Drawing conclusions based on hypotheticals and small sample sizes? Check. "If it wasn't for a minor knee issue at the end of last season, he should have taken Satele's job from him outright."
Bringing in irrelevant opinions to help support your conclusion? Check. "Shipley... was a fan favorite"
Ignoring other relevant information? Check. (No mention made of the fact that #1. Satele also hurt his knee last year, or #2 the fact that Satele himself was a "Secret Superstar" on P.F.F. a year ago: https://www.profootballfocus.com/blog/2012/05/30/secret-superstar-samson-satele-c-indianapolis-colts/)
Couching an argument in a Catch-22 format so that the person in question can't help but be wrong? Check. (You basically state that the Colts won't keep 3 Centers, but if he cuts Satele, it's "a mistake, and one that costed the Colts money", if he cuts Holmes, it's " a HUGE mistake"... but he still shouldn't trade the 7th round draft pick and practice squad vet).
In the absence of an actual explanation for an action, allude to character flaws that are impossible to pinpoint or measure? Check. "Although nobody wants to believe this about their GM... pride can get in the way."
A) I like your writing a lot, and I appreciate CA a great deal as a site of level-headed analysis.
B) I recognize that there isn't a lot of football stuff to write about right now.
C) I, too, would have liked to see Shipley get a shot, as I am no fan of Satele.
All that being said, this article was not in line with the quality I've come to expect from you and CA, and I felt the need to say something.
How convenient for those arguing that Satele is an awful center to ignore his nagging injury last year. His performance last year was bad, however with full health he will contribute all we need him too and we get a draft pick. Smart move Grig's.
You can't say this was a bad move until you know what they got in return. It depends on what they got for him. AQ was a nice depth player but he wasn't a world beater. If they got a 4th for him, it's definitely worth the move. I'd be really surprised if the pick was that high though. If it's a 6th or 7th, I'd be disappointed. I'm reserving judgement until we know what the compensation is.
@Travis_Tango Not really. The contents of the article kind of matter, just a little bit. Not all players are equal.
The fact that its conditional 7th (as reported by https://twitter.com/RussellStReport/status/332921522270388224) who Im not so sure he is a reputable source as from what I can tell he is just another person writing for a blog, doesn't change my view to be honest.
I also think it is important now to realize that if we go with the assumption that its a conditional 7th this clearly means the Colts didn't value him as a key piece with much potential in the system they are looking to run this year in Pep Hamilton's offense. This also means they were not in a position to ask for much and Baltimore very likely it would seem wasn't willing to give up much.
Now if Shipley is really someone special why might the ravens not want to give up much? I mean they did just lose there center to retirement and have nothing but pieces brought in to compete? Its something to think about.
So id think it is important to wait and see if he even makes the ravens roster? If he can't even make it on their roster who has no real favorite at C going into camp I couldn't say he would make the Colts roster or that this was in anyway a bad trade. Plus if he really didn't make the roster and the Colts really wanted to they would have a chance at getting him back.
@Coltsheadben He's earned enough credit with his work last year that he's ahead of the game in my book. This season will definitely be crucial, but the poor moves he's made aren't the really impactful ones. He still has a long leash, imo.
@Kyle Rodriguez I mentioned yesterday that we need to wait to see what the compensation is. Now that we know it's a 7th rounder, we can say it's a bad trade, unless he was destined to be cut from the roster. I disagree with the poster who doesn't like the Holmes pick. Bill Parcels said LT and C are the most important pieces of your O line. If Holmes turns out to be a good player, you can't argue with that pick. It does, however, appear as though the front office and coaching staff have a great deal of confidence in Satele. I think we can expect him to be the starter with Holmes as the backup. Teams don't pay backup C's what the Colts are paying Satele.
@Kyle Rodriguez I would agree.
@Kyle Rodriguez What? I heard conditional 4th rounder?
@AJ_ Even before I found out it was a conditional 7th round pick, I felt that the cap savings from cutting Satele would be worth far more to the team than the inevitable late round pick we'd get from this deal.
@AJ_ You are right. In the grand scheme of things, this is not an important deal. Even if this turns out to be a case of poor decision-making brought on by a reluctance to release Satele, Grigson should not be tarred and feathered or burned at the stake for trading A.Q. Shipley. It would just be one small bad decision. Kyle says that above.
The issue is not whether this is a terrible deal that will ultimately destroy the team. The issue is what this deal suggests about the thinking of the front office. There is good reason to be concerned about this move from that perspective. I don't see anyone saying that the Colts will now be doomed because A.Q. Shipley is gone. Andrew Luck is and will be the most important player as far as determining the success of the team. That does not change with this move. I see nothing but a limited critique here. I can't speak for the other corners of the interwebs.
I think this is getting blown out of proportion because we don't want to believe that there might be some flawed thinking in the front office. I know I don't want to believe that. But, I don't think it is an overreaction to criticize the FO for making a questionable move.
@ABlueColt Agreed. Shipley's performance last year was a benefit -- and he did win the Rimington Trophy at Penn -- State but he was a seventh rounder and was cut by both Pittsburgh and Philly (2x). Time will judge this move. At this point it's not one that I would have made, but it's not a blockbuster ... and I don't have as many facts as Grigson. Let's pay attention to early reports on Holmes this weekend.
@ABlueColt Good points.
@couvy As Kyle said, he was just suggesting it could be the case. This is commonplace among GMs in the league and we would be kidding ourselves if we just dismiss the possibility that Grigson is like that. Like you, I think that it is also unfair to say that this is definitely the case. I don't think Kyle is saying that.
To use your comparison earlier between Kyle and "He who should remain nameless because it is better to put wear and tear on my keyboard to describe him than actually mention his name," we need to make one important distinction. Kyle suggested that this kind of thing happens across all of the NFL and we should be prepared that this might be the case with Grigson as well. Blogger Y is the lead investigator, arresting officer, prosecutor, judge, jury, and executioner when it comes to such things. By the end of today, he will have arrested Grigson, planted "the glove," badgered all of the witnesses, found him guilty, sentenced him to death, and shot him in the chair he sits.
I completely think you are justified in not reading the other blogs (wink). I don't think you have to worry about those things creeping up here. In fact, these guys are usually "sunnier" in their outlook than me. I need them and other guys like you to point out the good things and keep me from being a "Donald Downer" after this offseason.
@couvy I'm not saying that's why he made it. I'm saying it's a distinct possibility, and the trade seems like a poor one based on other reasons.
@bradicus18 my first wife used criticize our vacations for weeks before we even stepped on a plane. Took the fun all out of it. Questioning ithe move seems ok at this point, but total slams seem out of whack until a few games are played.
@couvy I appreciate the feedback, but you're a off base on a couple things.
1. It's not too small of a sample size. Shipley should have been starting over Satele by the end of the season. He was clearly better all year. The only reason I was ok with Satele starting at the end of the season is because Shipley was listed as questionable because of a knee issue. I don't see what's controversial about that statement at all.
2. The fan favorite thing is relevant, but I wasn't meaning to use it as evidence that the Colts should have kept him over Satele. This article was written quickly after the news broke, and I apologize if that came across in that way.
3. What's your point? Satele was bad before his knee injury, and his Secret Superstar article was a year ago. PFF noted in that particular article Satele was inconsistent. And he was. We saw very little of the positives that PFF thought could occur, and a lot of the negatives that they mentioned. If you want me to pile on him by mentioning that article, I can, but I didn't think it was necessary for the piece.
4. You completely read that part of the article wrong. I didn't create a catch-22. I said that if he cut Satele/Holmes he would be ADMITTING a big mistake (acquiring them in the first place) not COMMITTING a big mistake.
5. I was bringing up a very real possibility that part of the reason behind the move was prideful. If you don't want to talk about that, that's fine. But pride is a real thing. Ignoring the possibility that it could play a part in a GM's decision making isn't something I'm going to do. GM's hang on to players they took risks on too long all the time. It's part of the league.
Again, I never said this is why Grigson made the trade. But I do think it's something worth discussing and considering. If you don't, that's fine. I get it. Fans generally don't want to talk about negatives.
@CoverZero He sucked before he injured himself. His knee didn't bother him the entire season.
@vinylsoundsgood That is a fair point. We don't know what it is. And I am completely ok with saying that. Although I still don't like trading the most consistent center on the roster.
@Travis_Tango We saw him play last year with the team and do pretty well where Satele sucked, hurt or healthy, with the same players. Shipley being on the roster and the money from Satele's contract would be worth more than anything we get back from a trade. If Holmes starts at C, we have a mediocre backup who commands a top ten C salary. If Satele starts, it means that Holmes wasn't very good, we are starting a mediocre C with a top ten salary, and we should have kept Shipley.
@vinylsoundsgood @Kyle Rodriguez Not liking the Holmes pick is a personal opinion. I didn't like it because it neither addressed an area of need nor followed a BPA strategy. Most analysts, journalists, and fans considered it a reach at the time with a collective "WTF!?!" reaction. I did the same thing when I was thinking that picking Quinton Patton, a potential 2nd rounder, seemed to be the easy decision. Instead, they picked a C that was way off anyone's radar. If he works out, fine. That's true of any draft pick. Right now, we know nothing of how Holmes will be in the NFL. Shipley was proven. That's the difference.
LT and C are important. The Colts didn't need either. They had two Cs. QB is the most important position on the team but you only draft one when it makes since - when there is a need for one. The Colts had two Cs and didn't need one but drafted one anyways. Oddly, they cut the better performer of the two on the roster. As many have speculated, this suggests the front office may not want a controversy with their highly payed but very poor performing starting C. The Colts shouldn't pay Satele so much money for sucking so bad...especially when a better option is (was) available at a lower price. Now we have to hope that he plays better or Holmes replaces him. Shipley could have done that and that fourth rounder could have been used otherwise.
@bradicus18Actually, I *was* speaking for other corners of the 'net. There's been some seriously overwrought hyperbole out there. Yes, HERE, it's been reasoned, but not always on Twitter, and definitely not at some other blogs.
Anyway, no, I wasn't restricting that post to just folks commenting here. I meant all Colts fans on the 'net.
@7IHd @Payton @Travis_Tango No I'm not writing off Holmes if he doesn't start this year. I'm saying if he doesn't start this year we have a overly expensive, crappy center who occasionally run blocks well and never pass blocks well. Even with the new offense, we will be passing more than running, so pass blocking is still critical to keeping Luck upright and healthy.
Keeping Satele and trading Shipley was just a dumb idea.
@Payton @Travis_Tango I may be misreading you, but are you saying that if Holmes doesn't start at C this year, he isn't very good? You do realize the guy was a fourth round pick and not a first, right? I agree that if we could have unloaded Satele for the same that the saved cap room would be the obvious reason, but unlike Shipley, he's a more athletic C who can get to the second level easily. He didn't fit in very well with our pass happy offense last year (a heavy pass-blocking role is what Shipley succeeds at, and he was a hugely successful backup for us last year), but our staff apparently feels that he'll be better in this West Coast style offense. I hope they're right and that Holmes will be able to fill in well enough on the interior to not miss Shipley.
@Kyle Rodriguez@zgs1288From an apparently blatantly wrong article on the Yahoo Contributor Network (http://sports.yahoo.com/news/indianapolis-colts-shrewdly-trade-center-baltimore-ravens-153000238.html). Guess that's what I get for believing anything written there. So it's a conditional 7th rounder... so if he doesn't make the team, then what? Nothing?
@Kyle Rodriguez Gah... Gfmphbf... blfphbbbbbt... !$%#^#@^@#!$#@% SEVENTH ROUNDER??!! That's IT??
@bradicus18 No need to apologize at all; I didn't take any offense. I was just clarifying.
Keep in mind that I'm not saying that the front office should not face scrutiny over this. I'm outright saying it was the wrong choice (not "I feel" that it was; based on play & stats, it objectively was); I'm just saying that the effects of it are limited and that depending on what Indy does with the pick it may turn out to be openly beneficial in the end. Legit criticism *would* be to do exactly what you're doing and cast it terms of the decision-making processes, not actual effect on the quality of the position. Whereas overreaction would be to call for Grigson's firing (*cough*otherblog*cough*) over the trading of a former practice team player. Folks *here* have been evenhanded. Which is why I come here.
@AJ_ @bradicus18 I'm sorry. I was taking your comments in the context of this conversation here and ignored your mention of Twitter. Overall, I think you are right in pointing out that trading Shipley is not a big deal. Unfortunately, it doesn't make me feel better about the FO's overall decision-making process. :(