Eric Fisher suffered a torn Achilles tendon in the Kansas City Chiefs' victory over the Buffalo Bills in January's AFC Championship game. The former No. 1 overall pick and two-time Pro Bowler was unable to suit up in the Super Bowl and not long after, the Chiefs released him.
Now a free agent at 30 years old, Fisher ostensibly has a few more solid years of quality offensive tackle play left in the tank, once (if?) he recovers from that Achilles injury. Before he was released Chiefs' GM Brett Veach speculated that Fisher could be back to health by mid-August.
Obviously, the Chiefs weren't certain of that or else Fisher wouldn't have been cut. But he's out there now languishing on the open free-agent market and The Athletic's Sheil Kapadia tapped the ninth-year veteran as the best fit for none other than the Indianapolis Colts.
The Colts need help at wide receiver, left tackle and defensive end. You could certainly give them someone like T.Y. Hilton or Justin Houston here. But is Indianapolis really going to go through all that trouble of trading for Carson Wentz without making sure it has an answer at left tackle? Unlikely. Fisher has 113 career starts and is a two-time Pro Bowler, but he tore his Achilles in January. The Colts signed Sam Tevi, who can be a backup or a bridge until Fisher is healthy. As a point of reference, Eagles guard Brandon Brooks tore his Achilles in January 2019 and started all 16 games the next season. So Fisher being healthy by Week 1 is not out of the question.
Indeed, Colts' GM Chris Ballard has hedged at the offensive tackle position by signing Sam Tevi but Fisher is a vested, proven veteran. Is Fisher considered a 'set and forget' caliber left tackle?
I would say so, though he has his detractors out there. Fisher went No. 1 overall in the 2013 NFL draft and initially was viewed as a soft bust. But once Andy Reid was able to work his magic and provide Fisher with stable, competent QB play from Alex Smith and then Patrick Mahomes, the left tackle blossomed into a Pro Bowler.
Over the last few years, Fisher has earned north of $10 million/APY and coming off an Achilles, which is considered to be one of the most grievous injuries an NFL player can suffer, odds are, the Colts could land him on the relative cheap. However, due to his injury and ongoing rehab process, Ballard would be unwise at this stage to jump the gun and sign Fisher to any contract that would guarantee him even a nickel.
The smarter play would be to let Fisher's rehabilitation unfold and circle back in the late summer to see how far along he is. Because the injury was sustained in late-January, there's a decent chance he might not work back to full football shape in time to participate in the 2021 NFL season in earnest.
However, at one point, the Chiefs were optimistic he would be back sooner than later. Then something changed. Whether it was a setback in Fisher's recovery or simply a reshuffling of roster priorities in Kansas City, it resulted in the talented tackle being handed his walking papers.
The Athletic likes Fisher-to-Indy and while it would make perfect sense on-paper if he was healthy, the bitter truth is, he's not. Better to wait and see how this unfolds for the veteran tackle before doing anything more than kicking the tires.
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