9-year veteran and former 1st round pick (22nd) out of Boston College. Castonzo has spent all 9 years of his career with the Colts, and has played 100% of the team’s snaps 3 times, including 2019. He’s started every game he’s played in, and has missed 12 games in his entire career. In addition to the 3 seasons he played 100% of the team’s offensive snaps, Castonzo has 3 more seasons of at least 98% of the team’s snaps. Castonzo is 31 and will turn 32 during training camp this summer.
Good height and weight with long arms and good hand size with a lean, muscular build and doesn’t carry a lot of bad weight. Good AA, with good balance upon initial contact, quick feet, good recovery speed and lateral movement. Good competitive toughness as well, keeps a good base which allows him to operate consistently with good aggressiveness in both Run and Pass pro. Although he isn’t the strongest Tackle, plays with solid play strength and mental processing to win with technique, and diagnoses complex schemes quickly. Executes with good play speed and is a smart, decisive player that consistently gets to the appropriate shoulder of the defender, or takes the appropriate angle. Good UOH, uses long arms and good hand placement to impede progress of defender, and protects against counter moves with his hands on the inside of rushers. Solid job in Gap blocks, cuts the defender in half and gets the DL to use his momentum against him. Does a good job keeping himself clean and is able to shed rusher and effectively get to 2nd level if needed. Solid job in Zone blocking where he can consistently get his head across the chest of defender and use his technique to win, and does a good job working to the 2nd level. Reads the defender in-front of him quickly and if the assignment requires him to work towards LB’s, he does so without sacrificing teammates on OL and uses his AA to track down smaller defenders. Good in Pass pro; good pad level, quick feet, good hand placement, and mental processing allow him to win most matchups. Solid in his ability to anchor; holds his ground and protects the pocket with good technique. Low hips, a wide base and a good initial punch on smaller, faster EDGE rushers tends to stalemate their progress and allows him to get control of the defender with UOH.
He isn’t the strongest guy; if a bigger EDGE rusher is lined up in wide-9 and gets a free release and can flatten and attack into the chest he will drive the Tackle into the pocket. UOH struggle against same bigger EDGE rushers where their initial punch and hand quickness are stronger and faster than his and has to rely on winning with finesse. In gap and zone blocks he tends to struggle when the opponent lines up in the B gap and shoots towards the Guard and can’t get his head across his chest.
After week 17 Castonzo was quoted as saying retirement was certainly a possibility, and something he needed time to sit and think about. To my knowledge, that was the last time I’ve heard anything like that. Currently, I’ve got him projected as the league’s 2nd highest paid LT when this is all said and done. We all know Nate Solder is highly overpaid, but Castonzo may not be on the Taylor Lewan level, and those 2 are the highest paid in the league. Jake Matthews is the league’s 3rd highest paid LT followed by Joe Staley at 4, but Castonzo is certainly deserving of the 2nd highest paid LT when you go off productivity and durability. That number could be somewhere around $15.5M-$16M with 49.5% as the average guarantee among top-5 paid LT’s (Donovan Smith being 5th). Turning 32 in the summer, it becomes a little murky on how to project his last contract. Joe Staley got his deal at 35, Solder got his at 30, and Andrew Whitworth got a very back-loaded contract at 36. Castonzo has outperformed all of the players I’ve mentioned, and the Nate Solder deal is certainly the deal to be used for leverage. With uncertainty at the QB position, the Colts could decide to move on from Jacoby Brissett this offseason but having a complete o-line still gives you a chance with a young QB, so the Colts have to be mentioned as the front-runners. Other teams that could make a move on Castonzo are the Jets, and most interestingly, to me, are the Cleveland Browns. Newly hired GM Andrew Berry has said he wants more cap space, and cutting Olivier Vernon immediately increases the team’s cap space by $15M, bringing them to roughly $64M in cap space. With other potential cuts, they can save another $14.25M by cut/trade Odell. That puts Cleveland at just about $78M in cap space, good for 5th most in the league among current cap space numbers. The Cleveland move is certainly the most intriguing for me. With his leverage and their need, that situation might even push the envelope on who the next highest paid LT is in the league.