The Colts officially had until May 3rd to pick up Nelson’s option, but it was a mere formality, as Indianapolis will gladly pay Nelson $13.754M in 2022 (assuming both sides can’t work out a lucrative long-term mega-deal even sooner).
Because the former 6th overall pick of the 2018 NFL Draft has made 2 or more Pro Bowls, he was given the 2021 franchise tag number for offensive linemen in 2022—which was a shoe-in for the Colts either way.
The 3x NFL First-Team All-Pro has been as great as advertised for Indianapolis, as a generational talent at offensive guard and already one of the best players to ever do it—at a very young age.
‘Big Q’ has made all 48 starts for the Colts since his anticipated debut as a rookie in 2018.
Per PFF, Nelson was their 3rd highest graded offensive guard last season with a +87.5 grade overall—including a +86.0 run blocking grade.
Specifically, Nelson helped pave the way for rookie sensation Jonathan Taylor to rush for over 1,100 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns in the process.
In pass protection, Nelson allowed a mere single sack and 15 total QB pressures in 659 pass blocking snaps (including playoffs) during 2020—while committing 9 penalties overall.
Nelson has been a perennial All-Pro since joining the Colts and assuming he can stay healthy, is on the fast-track for Canton, Ohio, when his outstanding playing career is all said and done.
Featuring athleticism, strength, awareness, and overall physicality, Nelson has been the catalyst on one of the most improved—and best offensive lines in all of football over the past few seasons.
Picking up his 5th-year option was an absolute ‘no brainer’ for the Colts, but the hope is that the Colts will get a longer deal with Nelson hammered out soon—but it may have to wait a little bit longer until more imminent free agents’ deals, namely Darius Leonard and Braden Smith (*both soon-to-be free agents in the 2022 offseason), take earlier precedent.
One way or the other, the Colts will lock up their franchise cornerstone however.