Expect Kevin Zeitler to be one of, if not the most highly-pursued offensive linemen this offseason.
We’re already getting a taste of that with reports of multiple teams showing interest in Zeitler during the NFL’s legal tampering period. The Jaguars were among the first teams to show interest, and now two more suitors have emerged.
Guard Kevin Zeitler will do quite well on the open market. Hearing the Colts, Jags and Browns are in on him— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 8, 2017
FOX Sports’ Jay Glazer adds that Zeitler is one of the hottest names on the market, though doesn’t mention any specific team showing interest... Just that “EVERY TEAM” is seemingly interested.
The one name nearly EVERY TEAM I spoke to showed interest in isn't flashy one but Cincy OG Kevin Zeitler. He's very hot name.— Jay Glazer (@JayGlazer) March 8, 2017
The Browns are an interesting team since they already have Joel Bitonio and John Greco at guard. Bitonio has become one of the league’s better left guards, while Greco emerged as a viable starter this past season, ranking 20th among Pro Football Focus’ top 72 offensive guards.
But Greco is 31 and entering the final year of his deal, so Cleveland would be wise to find his long-term replacement this year. It sounds like Zeitler could fit the bill, and with over $100 million to burn in cap space, you can bet they’ll toss him a nice offer at some point.
However, the Colts are likely the more attractive option if Zeitler wants to win and stay close to home. The Wisconsin native grew up just outside of Milwaukee, which is just a five-hour drive from Indianapolis.
The Colts also have far more stability throughout their roster, including one of the league’s best quarterbacks in Andrew Luck. There’s no question Zeitler would find a great combination of winning, money and location with the Colts if that’s where he wants to go.
The Browns can only offer more money, though it’s hard to see them going too far over what the Colts could offer. Indy has about $50 million in cap space, so they can easily offer Zeitler a deal paying him $10-12 million annually, which is believed to be what he’s searching for.
With so much interest in Zeitler around the league, expect him to get a massive deal and for it to not be in Cincinnati.