“Hopefully they value what I do,” Kelly said. “If not, then I understand. But I love it here. I want to stay here. This is my home. I got a house here because I love the city. The guys in the room, I love what we’ve developed on this team. It’s certainly a lot different than it was when I first walked in the door Day 1. Time will tell. But right now, yeah, this is definitely where I want to be.”
Kelly earned $3.325MM this year and he’ll see a bump to $10.35MM under the fifth-year option in 2020. A new deal might only give the Colts a slight bit of cap relief – he’s likely looking at an average annual salary of $9-$12MM, putting him in line with the upper crust of NFL centers.
Recent extensions for Bucs centers Ryan Jensen and Bills center Mitch Morse figure to be comps for Kelly, a former first-round pick. Jensen inked a four-year, $42MM deal with Tampa Bay prior to the 2018 season with $22MM guaranteed. Morse, meanwhile, landed a four-year, $44.5MM deal with Buffalo in March, making him the league’s highest-paid center in terms of overall dollars. That deal included $26.175MM in practically guaranteed dollars – the fourth-highest at the position.
Thanks in large part to Kelly, the Colts boast one of the league’s top offensive lines in the NFL. They won’t qualify for the playoffs this year, but a new long-term deal with Kelly could position them well for 2021 and beyond.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.