The New Orleans Saints rewarded 3x NFL All-Pro starting right tackle Ryan Ramczyk with a record-setting 5-year, $96 million mega-contract extension (with a whopping $60M guaranteed), making him the highest paid right tackle in football:
More on Saints’ offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk signing a five-year, $96 million extension that includes $60 million guaranteed and makes him the new highest-paid right tackle in football.https://t.co/2rQ8qFNO2c— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 30, 2021
It begs the question of how this will impact Indianapolis Colts’ 2018 second round pick Braden Smith’s ongoing contract negotiations, who’s set to become a free agent following this upcoming season.
The Colts assuredly want to lock up Smith long-term, who’s blossoming into one of the best young starting right bookends in the sport.
Per PFF (subscription), the 25 year old right tackle was graded their 16th best offensive tackle with a +80.1 overall grade this past year.
Specifically, in pass protection, Smith didn’t allow a single sack and surrendered just 25 total QB pressures in 578 total pass blocking snaps during his 14 starts in 2020. He also helped pave the way for Colts rookie running back Jonathan Taylor to rush for over 1,100 yard and 11 rushing touchdowns.
While Smith has neither an All-Pro nor a Pro Bowl nod to his name yet (although he should’ve made the Pro Bowl last year) and presumably won’t top Ramczyk’s new record-shattering deal, he should be poised to become paid quite handsomely himself.
With the 27 year old Ramczyk’s new deal averaging around $19.2M per year, it wouldn’t be surprising if Smith’s new deal averages around $15-18M per year—potentially making him the second highest paid player at his position.
If Smith wants to simply get a new deal done soon at a fair and competitive market rate, that number could be on the lower side of the suggested ‘bucket’. However, if his agent wants to aggressively push the envelope, he could very well reach the higher end—but it may take a little longer with posturing.
Since Smith is a little younger, perhaps he gets an extra year attached to the deal too.
If you’re a Colts fan or in the front office, Ramczyk’s deal is good in that it provides further clarity on the current ceiling of the star right tackle market. However, it also means that Smith’s price tag probably just increased a little bit with that bar being historically reset—and more ‘wiggle room to grow’ for his looming lucrative deal.
Regardless, he’s earned it.