According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano and Jeremy Fowler (subscription), their league sources have indicated that Indianapolis Colts former Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly and potentially even tight end Mo Alie-Cox could be on the trade (or possible chopping) block:
“Some of those teams will stay very active on the phones, feeling out potential suitors. The Colts are believed to be one. Sources with several NFL teams say three-time Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly is available for a potential trade or release. Kelly signed a four-year, $50 million extension before the 2020 season. With cap hits of $12.4 and $14.6 million in 2023-24, coupled with Indy’s rough outing across the offensive line last year, Kelly’s future in Indy could be tenuous. Tight end Mo Alie-Cox is another name a few teams have on their lists as potentially available.”
Kelly’s name being mentioned isn’t exactly a surprise given his recent regression and significant salary cap hit for the 2023 season.
While the 29 year old center was once considered one of the best centers in the NFL—as a past 3x NFL Pro Bowler and 1x 2nd-Team NFL All-Pro, his play has drastically fallen off over the past two seasons. He’s due a $12.375M cap hit in 2023, but the Colts could save $7.875M by cutting him—if a trade cannot ultimately be worked out with another NFL team.
Other than perennial Pro Bowler Quenton Nelson, the Colts may need to completely revamp their starting interior offensive line at both center and right guard ahead of next year—as both positions were key deficiencies last year for a unit that collectively struggled.
Meanwhile, Mo Alie-Cox has been quite a developmental story for the Colts as a former collegiate basketball standout turned into a quality NFL tight end over the past few years.
That being said, with promising 2nd-year tight end Jelani Woods poised for a featured role, who’s similarly big bodied to Alie-Cox, and with the latter having struggled in retired Jack Doyle’s previously occupied versatile blocking role last season (and due a $5.31M cap hit in 2023), the Colts could elect to move on from the 29 year old veteran all together. The Colts would save $2.92M if Alie-Cox is eventually cut this offseason.
Other veteran names to watch for the Colts could be cornerback Kenny Moore II, who may want to play in a different defensive scheme entirely—as he wasn’t nearly as productive or comfortable in his debut season under Gus Bradley. A possible reunion with former Colts defensive coordinator, now Chicago Bears head coach Matt Eberflus could make sense there.