Already today we've seen several notable players (Marcell Dareus and Luke Kuechly) receive long-term contract extensions, and it sounds like we're close to seeing another one: according to NFL Media's Ian Rapoport, the Indianapolis Colts and left tackle Anthony Castonzo are finalizing a contract-extension.
#Colts are finalizing a contract extension for LT Anthony Castonzo, sources say. Key building block & Andrew Luck bodyguard in Indy longterm— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 10, 2015
According to Rapoport, it is a four-year deal worth $42 million, averaging $10.5 million per season. It seems that it will slightly front loaded, however, as $35 million will be payed out over the first three years of the contract (leaving $7 million for the last year). It's a good move by the Colts to lock up their left tackle before the season begins, and while it's not official yet, it seems like it's very close.
Castonzo was one of the top priorities for the Colts to re-sign, along with wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, both of whom were going to be free agents next offseason. The Colts and owner Jim Irsay wanted to be proactive and get those deals done now ahead of that deadline, when other players like Dwayne Allen and Coby Fleener will also need new deals and a mega-deal for Andrew Luck could be coming. The team locked up Hilton long-term last month, and now it seems they're locking up Castonzo long-term as well.
The Colts' offensive line hasn't been that great in recent years, but that doesn't negate what Castonzo has done in emerging as one of the better left tackles in the NFL. He has started 56 regular season games in a row (dating back to his rookie season in 2011), the fifth-longest active streak among tackles. In 2014, no lineman played more snaps than Castonzo did, and he played very well in those snaps too. According to Pro Football Focus, Castonzo spent 726 snaps in pass protection last year and allowed just two sacks and nine hits.
This move was expected at some point, considering how important of a priority Castonzo was to the Colts to re-sign, and there had been talk about it getting done before the regular season started. It looks like the Colts just might beat that deadline, but regardless of when they officially get him re-signed, the good news is simply that they will have their left tackle protecting Andrew Luck's blindside for several years to come.