Ryan Lilja Cut by Indianapolis Colts, Probable Target for Seattle Seahawks

NFL News And RumorsAnalyst IMarch 9, 2010

BALTIMORE - NOVEMBER 22:  Ryan Lilja #63 of the Indianapolis Colts defends against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on November 22, 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Colts defeated the Ravens 17-15. (Photo by Larry French/Getty Images)
Larry French/Getty Images

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In a somewhat surprising move for a Super Bowl team, the Indianapolis Colts parted ways with starting guard Ryan Lilja today.

Lilja has been a fixture on the team with the best regular season record over the last seven years, culminating in two Super Bowl appearances and a victory in 2007.

Lilja had 67 career starts for Indianapolis and also bounced back nicely from missing the entire 2008 season with a bum knee by starting every game in 2009.

He was due a $1.7 million roster bonus, but according to the Indianapolis Star the move was not financially driven. The motive was apparently the Colts' desire to get bigger along the offensive line, making the 290-pound Lilja a casualty in this shift of strategy.

Lilja immediately becomes arguably the top guard on a free agent market that is scarce of impact players. Ben Hamilton and Bobbie Williams are other best options for teams looking for a starting guard.

It would not surprise me one bit to see the blocking-challenged Seattle Seahawks on the phone with him immediately. Lilja would be a perfect fit in new offensive line coach Alex Gibbs' renowned zone-blocking scheme.

Seattle has also been in touch with former Broncos starting left guard Ben Hamilton—also a casualty of the Broncos' desire to get bigger on the offensive line.

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Adding those two would be a significant upgrade for this beleaguered group.

Center Chris Spencer is being replaced by Max Unger.

Left guard Rob Sims is a restricted free agent who is potentially on his way out of town with a fourth round tender. The Cleveland Browns have shown interest in him.

Sean Locklear became a human turnstile at left tackle.

Left tackle Walter Jones' future is cast in doubt with whispers of retirement. Even if Jones returns next year, the Seahawks are more than likely to draft a left tackle with one of their first-round picks.

The only sure thing is Max Unger at center at this point—Sean Locklear's job is not 100 percent secure under a new regime after a shaky showing in 2009.

Grabbing Lilja and Hamilton on the open market and drafting a franchise left tackle with the No. 6 pick would help to address the weaknesses of one of the league's worst offensive lines.

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