By Tom E. Curran
INDIANAPOLIS - Before Maurkice Pouncey rolled into Pittsburgh, the Steelers' most consistent offensive lineman was right tackle Willie Colon.
A fourth-round pick in 2006, Colon is going to be a free agent when the 2011 class hits the market. And his agent, Joe Linta, has told Pittsburgh media that he doesn't expect the 28-year-old to be in the Steelers' future plans. (Wink-nod to PFT for finding it first.)
Colon, who'll be 28 when next season begins (presumably), suffered an Achilles tear in June 2010 and missed the season. At 6-3, 315, Colon's a terrific run blocker and an underrated pass blocker. There's been steady debate about whether he should be moved to guard because of his size but the Steelers never did it.
In the case of the Patriots, Colon would give them a ton of flexibility. They could put him at right tackle, kick Sebastian Vollmer to left tackle and not re-sign Matt Light. They could have Colon as Stephen Neal insurance at right tackle or just outright replace Neal with Colon since Neal can't make it through a season anymore because of injury.
Linta is a highly respected agent when it comes to offensive linemen and the Patriots have gone to him often in the past decade to provide capable players. Of course, Scott Pioli and Thomas Dimitroff also have the Linta link, so there may be a sizable market if the Steelers do indeed pass on re-signing him.
After kicking over a few more rocks, the likelihood of Colon coming to New England probably hinges quite a bit on the Logan Mankins situation, a source told me. The Patriots are loathe to have to big-ticket offensive linemen on their roster and Colon is hoping to have a ticket that is at least medium-sized. Still, the sense of it on paper means it bears watching.