According to Colts vice chairman Bill Polian, first-round draft pick Anthony Castonzo and his agent are seeking four guaranteed years in their contract negotiations with the team. Predictably, and justifiably, the Colts are not willing to give such security to an unproven player, so Castonzo has yet to report to training camp in Anderson. His delayed signing is surely one of the reasons why Ryan Diem will be back on the line today when practices start, and it’s definitely the reason that Jeff Linkenbach, signed as an undrafted free agent in 2010, will start camp at the top of the depth chart for left tackle (as reported by Mike Chappell at the Indianapolis Star this morning).
It seems to me that this pre-season, of all years, is not the time to play games with Colts management. For proof of this, Castonzo needs only to look down the line to his right (if he were actually on the field) to Diem, who was forced to take a pay cut to stick with the team, with no guarantee of a starting slot. Despite Peyton Manning’s apparent team-friendly deal, the Colts are still in cost-saving mode, and they are in no mood for taking demands from players, especially unproven rookies. Castonzo needs to agree to terms, soon, and get in camp. The Colts can’t afford to mess around with their O-line for long, and the rookie may just find himself on the sidelines all year if he’s not already entrenched by the time Manning returns from his neck injury.