Kwity Paye

Colts DE Kwity Paye Not Eyeing 2024 Extension Agreement

Earlier this offseason, the Colts elected to pick up Kwity Paye‘s fifth-year option. The ascending edge rusher is therefore on the books through 2025, and neither team nor player appears to be interested in working out an extension in the near future.

A report in May indicated the Colts have not engaged in extension talks with Paye, who has seen incremental improvement in production during each of his three seasons in the NFL. The former No. 21 pick is part of an edge contingent which also features the likes of Dayo Odeyingbo, Samson Ebukam and first-round rookie Laiatu LatuHis performance working alongside them will go a long way in determining his value on a second Colts contract.

“I’m excited that [general manager] Chris Ballard picked up my fifth year,” Paye said in an interview with Justin Melo of the Draft Network“I see it as a prove-it thing now more than anything. I want to prove that I’m what this team needs in a pass rusher moving forward. I’m going to get out there and get the sacks, get the production.

“After I do that, we’ll have those contract discussions next offseason. For the most part, I’m not really worried about that [in 2024]. I’m worried about having my best season yet. We’ll discuss all that other stuff next offseason.”

Paye, 25, has started all 43 of his games and logged a steady defensive snap share during that span. Further progress both against the run and in the pass-rush department would help the Colts’ defense (a unit which was already strong up front last year) as well as his bargaining power. Paye could make a case for a deal near the top of the edge market if he takes a notable step forward in 2024, especially if the salary cap continues to rise and Indianapolis remains committed to quarterback Anthony Richardson on his rookie deal.

The Colts are currently on track to sit mid-pack with respect to cap space next offseason, although plenty of things will change in that respect between now and then. Part of the team’s plan will be centered on whether or not a lucrative Paye commitment will be worthwhile, and he appears to be content letting his 2024 performance dictate his value.

Colts Haven’t Discussed Extension With Kwity Paye

Despite coming off a breakout 2023 campaign, Kwity Paye probably won’t see an extension offer this offseason. According to ESPN’s Stephen Holder, the Colts are “not believed” to have engaged Paye’s camp in extension talks. Further, Holder believes the Colts will use the 2024 campaign to evaluate whether the defensive lineman is an extension-worthy piece.

Even though Paye is eligible for an extension, there isn’t any urgency on the Colts’ part. The team already committed to the pass rusher’s fifth-year option, meaning Paye will be locked in through at least the 2025 campaign. As of right now, the 25-year-old is set to hit free agency during the 2026 offseason.

The 21st pick in the 2021 draft, Paye has had a relatively consistent role on Indy’s defense in recent years. He earned All-Rookie team honors after finishing with four sacks in 2021, and despite only appearing in 12 games as a sophomore, Paye managed to add another six sacks to his resume.

The third-year player took it to another level in 2023, finishing with career-highs in tackles (52), sacks (8.5), and forced fumbles (two). For his efforts, Paye was ranked 36th among 112 qualifying edge defenders in Pro Football Focus’ rankings, including one of the best positional grades for his run defense.

After appearing in around 66 percent of his team’s defensive snaps through his first three NFL seasons, the Colts will surely be hoping that the defensive lineman can take on an even larger role before they hand him a lucrative extension. If Paye can’t put up the same numbers next season, the Colts have already prepared for the future by selecting UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu with the 15th-overall pick in this year’s draft.

Colts Exercise DE Kwity Paye’s Fifth-Year Option

Kwity Paye will remain in the Colts’ plans for at least the next two years. The ascending edge rusher had his 2025 fifth-year option picked up on Thursday, per a team announcement.

[RELATED: Fifth-Year Option Tracker]

Selected 21st overall, Paye was the third edge rusher to hear his name called in 2021. He has been a major factor in the Colts’ front seven since his rookie season, logging 43 games to date (all starts). The 25-year-old has seen his production increase incrementally each year, from four to six to 8.5 sacks.

Given the Colts’ preference for retaining their own, coupled with Paye’s durability and statistics, today’s move comes as no surprise. Qualifying for the lowest-valued option, the Michigan product will collect $13.4MM in 2025 barring a long-term extension being worked out before then. In the immediate future, he should remain a full-time starter in Indianapolis’ edge contingent.

Of course, that group saw a rather notable addition this weekend. During the first round of the 2024 draft, the Colts became the first team to select a defensive player. They added edge rusher Laiatu Latu 15th overall, providing the team with a high-upside prospect (albeit one with a notable injury history). Latu and Paye will be an intriguing young pairing along the edge for at least the next two seasons.

With respect to veteran defensive ends, Indianapolis has 2023 addition Samson Ebukam attached to a $24MM deal. The team also retained Tyquan Lewis at the outset of free agency on a two-year, $12MM pact. The Colts extended defensive tackle DeForest Buckner recently, and he will remain a focal point of their pass rush along the interior.

Overall, Indianapolis ranked fifth in sacks last season despite no one player reaching double digits. That by-committee approach will continue moving forward, and Paye’s ability to continue progressing will be a key storyline for the team. Another career-year could set himself up for a notable payday, but even if that does not take place the option price will be somewhat reasonable given the top of the edge market. With Latu in place as a future starter, Paye’s performance in 2024 will be worth monitoring closely.

2025 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 2 to officially pick up fifth-year options on 2021 first-rounders. The 2020 CBA revamped the option structure and made them fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, fifth-year option salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement and performance- and usage-based benchmarks:

  • Two-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternates) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag
  • One-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag
  • Players who achieve any of the following will receive the average of the third-20th-highest salaries at their position:
    • At least a 75% snap rate in two of their first three seasons
    • A 75% snap average across all three seasons
    • At least 50% in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will receive the average of the third-25th top salaries at their position

With the deadline looming, we will use the space below to track all the option decisions from around the league:

  1. QB Trevor Lawrence, Jaguars ($25.66MM): Exercised
  2. QB Zach Wilson, Broncos* ($22.41MM): Declined
  3. QB Trey Lance, Cowboys** ($22.41MM): Declined
  4. TE Kyle Pitts, Falcons ($10.88MM): Exercised
  5. WR Ja’Marr Chase, Bengals ($21.82MM): Exercised
  6. WR Jaylen Waddle, Dolphins ($15.59MM): Exercised
  7. T Penei Sewell, Lions ($19MM): Extended through 2029
  8. CB Jaycee Horn, Panthers ($12.47MM): Exercised
  9. CB Patrick Surtain, Broncos ($19.82MM): Exercised
  10. WR DeVonta Smith, Eagles ($15.59MM): Extended through 2028
  11. QB Justin Fields, Steelers*** ($25.66MM): Declined
  12. DE Micah Parsons, Cowboys ($21.32MM): Exercised
  13. T Rashawn Slater, Chargers ($19MM): Exercised
  14. OL Alijah Vera-Tucker, Jets ($13.31MM): Exercised
  15. QB Mac Jones, Jaguars**** ($25.66MM): Declined
  16. LB Zaven Collins, Cardinals ($13.25MM): Declined
  17. T Alex Leatherwood, Raiders: N/A
  18. LB Jaelan Phillips, Dolphins ($13.3MM): Exercised
  19. LB Jamin Davis, Commanders ($14.48MM): Declined
  20. WR Kadarius Toney, Chiefs***** ($14.35MM): Declined
  21. DE Kwity Paye, Colts ($13.4MM): Exercised
  22. CB Caleb Farley, Titans ($12.47MM): Declined
  23. T Christian Darrisaw, Vikings ($16MM): Exercised
  24. RB Najee Harris, Steelers ($6.79MM): Declined
  25. RB Travis Etienne, Jaguars ($6.14MM): Exercised
  26. CB Greg Newsome, Browns ($13.38MM): To be exercised
  27. WR Rashod Bateman, Ravens ($14.35MM): N/A; extended through 2026
  28. DE Payton Turner, Saints ($13.39MM): Declined
  29. CB Eric Stokes, Packers ($12.47MM): Declined
  30. DE Greg Rousseau, Bills ($13.39MM): Exercised
  31. LB Odafe Oweh, Ravens ($13.25MM): Exercised
  32. LB Joe Tryon-Shoyinka, Buccaneers ($13.25MM): Declined

* = Jets traded Wilson on April 22, 2024
** = 49ers traded Lance on August 25, 2023
*** = Bears traded Fields on March 16, 2024
**** = Patriots traded Jones on March 10, 2024
***** = Giants traded Toney on October 27, 2022

AFC Injuries Update: Titans, Paye, Edmunds, Poyer

Injuries continue to bite the Titans on the defensive side of the ball. This week, the team will play without three starters as head coach Mike Vrabel has ruled out safety Amani Hooker, edge rusher Bud Dupree, and linebacker Zach Cunningham, according to Turron Davenport of ESPN.

The Titans already have six players on injured reserve from the defense alone, as well as five more from the offense. Vrabel also announced that the team will sit linebackers Olasunkanmi Adeniyi and Joseph Jones, as well. This all in addition to the recent loss of rookie wide receiver Treylon Burks to IR.

Tennessee has elevated practice squad linebacker Joe Schobert and wide receiver Dez Fitzpatrick to make up for the loss of Cunningham and Burks, respectively. Dupree and Hooker’s absences will likely mean more playing time for second-year linebacker Rashad Weaver and backup safeties Joshua Kalu and Ugo Amadi. Amadi has some starting experience from his time with the Seahawks.

Here are a few other injury updates from around the AFC, starting with a division rival of the Titans:

Colts Sign Kwity Paye, 4 Other Draft Picks

The Colts have jumped out to an early lead in draft pick signings. They agreed to terms with five draftees Thursday, including their top two picks — defensive linemen Kwity Paye and Dayo Odeyingbo.

Chosen 21st overall, Paye will be expected to play a key role for the Colts as a rookie. The team entered the draft with a significant edge rusher need, and the Michigan product was viewed as one of the top outside pressure artists available. Paye ranked as Scouts Inc.’s top pass-rushing prospect in this year’s draft, and for good reason. This was thanks in part to a 2019 campaign where the Michigan product finished with 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss.

While this was not viewed as a strong D-line draft class, the Colts have not re-signed Justin Houston and did not have a steady edge presence opposite him in 2020. The team doubled up at this position group to start the weekend. Chosen 54th overall out of Vanderbilt, Odeyingbo may profile as a player who operates both outside and inside — perhaps similar to Denico Autry, who departed for Tennessee in free agency. Odeyingbo, however, qualifies as a project. He may miss his rookie season, having suffered an Achilles’ tendon tear in January while training for the draft.

Only fourth-round pick Kylen Granson, a tight end, and former Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger (Round 6) are unsigned from Indianapolis’ draft class. Here are the Colts’ rookie signees thus far:

  • Kwity Paye, DE (Michigan, Round 1)
  • Dayo Odeyingbo, DL (Vanderbilt, Round 2)
  • Shawn Davis, S (Florida, Round 5)
  • Mike Strachan, WR (Charleston, W.V., Round 7)
  • Will Fries, OL (Penn State)

Colts Draft Michigan DE Kwity Paye At No. 21

With the No. 21 overall pick, the Colts have selected Michigan pass-rusher Kwity Paye. Paye, widely regarded as the best edge rusher on the board, ultimately found himself being selected after Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons, Tulsa linebacker Zaven Collins, Miami defensive lineman Jaelan Phillips, and Kentucky linebacker Jamin Davis.

Paye ranked as Scouts Inc.’s top pass-rushing prospect in this year’s draft, and for good reason. This was thanks in part to a 2019 campaign where the Michigan product finished with 6.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. That performance earned him second-team All-Big Ten honors and put him on the NFL radar.

The 6-foot-4, 272-pound defensive linemen managed to repeat that production in 2020 (two sacks, four tackles for loss in four games), and he earned a second-team All-Big Ten nod at the end of the season. Paye had emerged as a favorite among teams seeking pass-rush help, with the Giants being among the teams that had been connected to the prospect during the pre-draft process. The defensive lineman has been described as “raw” by some analysts, but his upside makes him an intriguing selection.

Paye will join Ben Banogu, Tyquan Lewis, Al-Quadin Muhammed, Isaac Rochell, and Kemoko Turay in the Colts’ DE group.


Giants Leaning Toward Edge Rusher In Round 1?

Having needed an edge rusher for a few years now, the Giants may be set to address this need with their top offseason resource.

They have done a lot of work on the top edge defenders in this year’s draft, and sources informed SNY’s Ralph Vacchiano the current sense is this will be the direction the team takes with its No. 11 overall pick. The Giants have spent big to fill needs at wide receiver and cornerback, in adding Kenny Golladay and Adoree’ Jackson, but have lacked a long-term, starter-caliber edge rusher since trading Olivier Vernon in 2019.

The Giants could be faced with a major decision — not exactly uncommon for them in recent drafts — if Alabama wide receiver prospects DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle remain on the board. Five quarterbacks may well go in the top 10, pushing down this offense-heavy draft’s top non-QB talents. The Giants have Golladay, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton penciled in as their top three receivers, but it should not be considered a lock the team would pass on potential value here in one of the ex-Crimson Tide stars.

New York is believed to be high on Michigan’s Kwity Paye and Georgia’s Azeez Ojulari, Vacchiano adds. The former ranks as Scouts Inc.’s top draft’s top pass-rushing prospect. With Ojulari ranked outside the top 20 overall, it may be difficult to envision the Giants going in that direction over a higher-value player at 11. Mel Kiper Jr.’s most recent mock has the Giants taking Waddle. A trade-down maneuver seems unlikely, given that GM Dave Gettleman‘s streak of never trading down has now lasted eight drafts — five in Carolina, three with New York.

Should the Giants stay at 11, they are also high on Northwestern tackle Rashawn Slater, per Vacchiano. The Giants went tackle at No. 4 overall last year and used a third-round pick on tackle Matt Peart. Nate Solder is also in line to return.

The Giants pursued Leonard Floyd, but he re-signed with the Rams. They passed on the rest of the 2020 pass rusher lot, which was rather crowded for the big-ticket position, and only kept Markus Golden via the rarely used UFA tender last year. The Giants waited until Round 7 to draft a pass rusher in 2020 and have since traded Golden and let 2020 signing Kyler Fackrell sign with the Chargers.

Gettleman passed on edge talent Josh Allen in 2019, drafting Daniel Jones instead and lost out on Chase Young thanks to a late-season win over Washington in 2019. The Giants’ need at outside linebacker has persisted, though the emergence of Leonard Williams as a sack artist may lessen the desperation at this spot to some degree.