According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler (subscription), the Indianapolis Colts are trying to ‘figure out a way to pay guard Quenton Nelson, hopefully this month’:
“From what I’m told, the Colts’ contract strategy is clear: Figure out a way to pay guard Quenton Nelson, hopefully this month,” Fowler writes. “Other contract matters can wait. That means Kenny Moore II, a standout corner who has two years left on a four-year, $33 million deal, might not cash in until 2023. The same goes for linebacker Bobby Okereke, an underrated player.”
Since being drafted by the Colts with the 6th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Nelson has become a 4x NFL All-Pro and the catalyst behind the franchise’s much improved offensive line in recent seasons. He’s very athletic, intelligent, and has been a pristine technician for his sheer size—while occasionally delivering bone-crushing pancake blocks in the process.
While Nelson isn’t necessarily the most vocal player in the locker room, he’s a cornerstone for the Colts and a lead-by-example star, setting the tone for his teammates on the field.
We can argue about the positional value of a top offensive guard until we’re all blue in the face, but Nelson’s impact is significant for the Colts franchise, both on and off the field.
His next contract will assuredly make him the highest paid offensive guard in NFL history—and rightfully so, as he’s on the fast track to Canton, Ohio, at his current gold jacket pace.
He’s projected to make somewhere around $18-20M per year on his upcoming mega-deal, and the Colts are armed with a projected $12.6M of available team salary cap space.
Meanwhile, what Fowler also said on Kenny Moore II is important. Even though the Colts may have no interest in currently renegotiating his deal with their cap situation set, it makes sense that he’s a standout player that the franchise would like to ideally keep around for the foreseeable future and re-engage him in such talks next offseason, entering a contract year.
Lastly, 2022 should be a big year for Bobby Okereke, a young linebacker, who’s often flashed on the field—especially in coverage. That being said, Okereke may have to showcase whether he’s a legit star or a starting role player. The Colts already let linebacker Anthony Walker Jr. walk in free agency and appear to be wanting to retain their stars—while replacing their starting ‘role players’ on cheaper cost-controlled rookie contracts through the draft.