Ryan Kelly

Colts C Ryan Kelly Seeking Extension

In January, Colts center Ryan Kelly shot down speculation that he was contemplating retirement. More recently, we learned that the four-time Pro Bowler is not just looking to continue his playing career; per ESPN’s Stephen Holder, Kelly is actually hoping to sign an extension with Indianapolis.

Kelly, who will turn 31 next month, is under club control through 2024 thanks to the four-year, $50MM deal he signed in September 2020. After earning Pro Bowl acclaim that season and again in 2021, Kelly experienced a noticeable drop in play in 2022, which led to some trade rumblings last offseason.

The Colts ultimately elected to retain Kelly and were rewarded for that decision. The Alabama product was regarded by Pro Football Focus as the eighth-best center out of 36 qualifiers in 2023 and was charged with just six total pressures and one sack in 14 games, a performance that led to the fourth Pro Bowl bid of his career.

With promising second-year quarterback Anthony Richardson having missed most of his rookie campaign, and with running back Jonathan Taylor still a focal point of the Indianapolis offense, it would not be particularly surprising to see the Colts explore a way to keep Kelly in the fold beyond the upcoming season. However, talks in that regard have not yet begun, as Mike Chappell of Fox 59 passes along.

With fellow luminaries Jason Kelce and Ryan Jensen having retired, the $12.41MM average annual value on Kelly’s existing contract currently ranks fourth among the league’s active centers. Per Spotrac, Kelly could land a two-year deal worth just shy of $12MM per year if he were on the open market today, and if player and team should initiate contract negotiations in the near future, that would seem to be a fair benchmark.

At present, the Colts do not have an heir apparent to Kelly on their roster. With the 2024 draft just a few days away, that could change, and the addition of an interior offensive lineman would stand to impact Indianapolis’ plans for its ninth-year pivot.

The Colts, who currently own the No. 15 overall pick in the draft, are widely believed to be targeting a pass catcher in the first round. GM Chris Ballard, though, recently lauded the overall depth of the offensive talent in this year’s class, including the O-linemen.

“The O-line in this draft is really excellent, and there’s depth throughout,” Ballard said (via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star). “I truly believe you’re going to get a really good player in those middle rounds, and even some later, because of the depth of the group.”

AFC South Notes: Taylor, Rankins, Colts

The Jaguars are retooling their defensive staff after their late-season collapse knocked them out of playoff position, but Jacksonville’s offense submitted a clunky campaign as well. Trevor Lawrence did not take the step forward many expected, battling injuries and producing an inconsistent third season. After finishing 10th in points and yards in 2022, the Jags ranked 13th in both categories (and 18th in DVOA) this season. As Doug Pederson fired most of his defensive assistants, SI.com’s Albert Breer notes some late-season buzz pointed to GM Trent Baalke taking a hard look into the state of the offense.

This effort is believed to have centered around OC Press Taylor, whom Pederson gave play-calling duties before the season. Pederson called plays in 2022. Pederson displayed loyalty to Taylor in Philadelphia, and Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was not onboard with the prospect of Press Taylor — the younger brother of Bengals HC Zac Taylor — staying on as Eagles QBs coach and pass-game coordinator for a second season back in 2021. (The Eagles did not employ an OC that year, making Taylor Pederson’s top lieutenant on that side of the ball.) Nearly two weeks after the Jags’ season ended, Taylor remains on track to be the Jags’ OC for a third year. The coming season will be pivotal for the Jags, who may want to see a true leap from Lawrence before extending him.

Here is the latest from the AFC South:

  • Sheldon Rankins has now played out his one-year Texans contract, though the team has exclusive negotiating rights with the veteran defensive tackle until the legal tampering period begins in March. Rankins, however, said (via KPRC2’s Aaron Wilson) he would prefer to re-sign with the Texans rather than leaving in free agency. Working as a full-time starter, Rankins played well in Houston. The former Saints and Jets D-tackle registered six sacks and returned a fumble for a touchdown this season. The Texans have part of their DT equation solved, having given Maliek Collins another contract (two years, $23MM) last summer.
  • Kenny Moore‘s Colts contract became an issue back in 2022. With the NFL still not placing considerable value on slot cornerbacks financially — at least, not compared to high-end boundary cover men — Moore expressed frustration about the four-year, $33.3MM deal he signed back in 2019. Moore has now played out his deal and is on track to be a first-time free agent. One of the NFL’s better slot corners over the course of his career, Moore became vital to a Colts team that did not feature consistent perimeter coverage this season. While the prospect of testing the market would seem appealing, Moore said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson) he wants to stay in Indianapolis. After an injury-plagued 2022, Moore returned to form this season. With Moore intercepting three passes and returning two for TDs, Pro Football Focus ranked the 28-year-old defender 17th at the position.
  • Ryan Kelly attempted to set the record straight recently, indicating (via Fox 59’s Mike Chappell) he is not considering retirement. The eight-year Colts center finished up his age-30 season, ranking as Pro Football Focus’ No. 8 overall center, and is under contract for 2024. The Colts shopped Kelly this past offseason. The final year of the Pro Bowler’s contract includes a nonguaranteed $11.4MM base salary.

Latest On Colts’ OL Situation

After years of dominant offensive line play, the last season of offensive line coach Chris Strausser‘s tenure saw an uncharacteristically down year for the team’s position group up front. With Strausser now coaching for rival Houston, the Colts are hoping that Tony Sparano can get the line back on track.

After the spring, it appears that the team has no plans to switch up the starting lineup with which they ended the 2022 season, according to Mike Chappell of FOX 59. Left tackle Bernhard Raimann, left guard Quenton Nelson, center Ryan Kelly, right guard Will Fries, and right tackle Braden Smith all return to start in 2023.

After starting his career in an elite manner, Nelson’s play has dropped slightly in the past two years. He’s still a Pro Bowl talent who is in no danger of losing his starting job, but after an extension that would make him the league’s highest paid guard at the time became inevitable, he’s gone from a top-three guard in the NFL to top-20, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required). Fries, a seventh-round pick from 2021, was asked to step up as a starter for the second-half of last season. It took him a bit to find his footing, but he displayed a few strong performances to end the season, and he’ll start the year opposite Nelson.

At center, Kelly has shown flashes of talent that have made him a top-10 center in the past. He bounced back after a dismal 2021 season but still didn’t quite reach the top-form we saw from him just a few years ago. His job should continue to be safe as backups Wesley French and Dakoda Shepley have a combined zero starts.

On the outside ends of the line, the team will aim to get Raimann and Smith a full year together. Raimann stepped up a few games into the season last year and performed admirably as a rookie at what is widely considered the toughest job on the line. Now, with 11 starts under his belt, Raimann is ready to not only perform but excel on the blindside in Year 2. Smith continues to be a bright spot on the line, even in a down year for the group. The only challenge with Smith seems to be keeping him on the field. Smith has missed nine games since the start of the 2020 season, and keeping him healthy throughout the year could be big for the integrity of the line.

The roster consistency gave Indianapolis the luxury of not needing to do much to address the position group this offseason. No big men were added in free agency, but the team added two rookies in the draft in fourth-round pick Blake Freeland out of BYU and seventh-round pick Jake Witt out of Northern Michigan. While Witt has an NFL frame that could help him contribute as a rookie depth piece if needed, he’s likely a project that needs a bit of time to develop. Freeland, on the other hand, looks a bit more NFL-ready and is expected to stand in as the team’s swing tackle as a rookie. If Smith does end up missing any time or Raimann experiences a bit of a sophomore slump, Freeland should be the first name off the bench to fill in.

So, that’s the situation heading into 2023. There’s a little concern over the lack of personnel adjustments after a disappointing performance in 2022, but there’s hope that consistency and a new face in the coaching staff will help push this group to its usual dominance. They also inserted that fresh blood that has potential to energize the line, if necessary.

Colts To Retain C Ryan Kelly, CB Kenny Moore II

The Colts are planning to retain both center Ryan Kelly and cornerback Kenny Moore II, as Zak Keefer of The Athletic writes (subscription required). GM Chris Ballard recently fielded trade calls on both players, and a report last month indicated that he was actively shopping Kelly, but he clearly did not get an offer to his liking.

“They’re both great Colts, and we’re glad they’re here,” Ballard said. “When you’ve got a good football player that is a great person and a great fit, it makes it hard to move away from those guys.”

Kelly, who will turn 30 in May, was one of the primary culprits in the surprising regression that the Colts’ offensive line experienced in 2022. That group, widely considered one of the team’s greatest strengths, struggled last season, and Kelly himself earned middle-of-the-road grades from Pro Football Focus after surrendering five sacks, 25 total pressures, and failing to generate much push in the run game. Still, he earned Pro Bowl acclaim every year from 2019-21, and as Indianapolis could soon be deploying a rookie quarterback, having an accomplished player at the pivot makes sense.

Moore, who is entering his age-28 season, lobbied for a new contract last year. While the deal that he signed in 2019 set a record for slot corners, Moore argued that his pay should reflect the fact that slot defenders are really starting players in today’s pass-heavy league, and that his ability to line up outside the numbers, make tackles in space, and play behind the line of scrimmage should also be rewarded. Ultimately, the Colts did not make any adjustments to Moore’s contract, and Moore turned in perhaps the worst season of his career.

Although PFF continued to laud his work against the run, it assigned Moore a poor overall grade of 55.7. He failed to record an interception for the first time in his six professional seasons, and he yielded an unsightly quarterback rating of 117.7. In fairness, he was playing through a torn ligament in his left hand and also dealt with a right hand sprain before his season was cut short by an ankle injury, and he did not fit as well in defensive coordinator Gus Bradley‘s scheme as he had in the scheme utilized by former DC Matt Eberflus. Regardless of the reason, though, Moore’s performance took a lucrative new contract off the table for the time being, so his upcoming platform campaign will be especially critical for his future earning power.

Releasing Moore would create a cap savings of $7.6MM while leaving a minimal dead money charge of $500K, and a trade would remove the dead money hit completely. Still, after the Colts traded Stephon Gilmore and saw Brandon Facyson defect to the Raiders in free agency, the team’s cornerback depth is suspect. Per Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star, Ballard — who concedes the Gilmore deal was partially cap-driven — thinks highly of presumptive boundary starters Isaiah Rodgers and Dallis Flowers, but it makes sense that he would not want to thin the CB room even further by cutting ties with Moore (Twitter link).

Nonetheless, one would expect Ballard to attempt to shore up the position in the coming months, and the draft would be one way to do that. Likewise, new head coach Shane Steichen wants to add reinforcements to the offensive line, as Keefer tweets, and an heir apparent for Kelly could be in the cards. At present, 2022 UDFA Wesley French represents the Colts’ fallback option at center.

Colts Shopping C Ryan Kelly

The Colts could be looking to move on from their Pro Bowl offensive lineman. According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Colts are shopping center Ryan Kelly. The organization could also consider cutting the veteran, but they’ll exhaust the trade market before making a move.

Kelly inked a sizable four-year, $50MM extension with the Colts prior to the 2020 season. He earned Pro Bowl nods in both 2020 and 2021, and in 2022, he started all of his team’s games for the first time since 2019.

However, thing’s aren’t as rosy as they may appear. The Colts offensive line struggled mightily in 2022, with Pro Football Focus grading Kelly as a middle-of-the-road center (16th among 36 qualifying players). Despite the Pro Bowl nod, the site ranked Kelly 32nd among 39 centers during the 2021 campaign, and they haven’t given the player a top-10 grade since 2019.

With impending cap hits of $12.4MM and $14.6MM in 2023 and 2024, respectively, the Colts could decide to move on from the veteran as they continue to pivot towards the future. Considering his track record, it wouldn’t take long for a team to scoop up Kelly in free agency, and there’s a chance the organization could find a suitor on the trade market.

Kelly isn’t the only Colts player who’s on the trade block. Per Fowler, tight end Mo Alie-Cox is also “potentially available.” The 29-year-old has averaged 24.7 receptions for 300 yards and three touchdowns per season over the past three years.

Colts OLs Ryan Kelly, Mark Glowinski To Miss Saturday’s Game

The Colts continue to climb the AFC standings, but they’ll have to take on the formidable Cardinals on Saturday without two starting linemen. According to The Athletic’s Stephen Holder (on Twitter), linemen Ryan Kelly (personal) and Mark Glowinski (reserve/COVID-19 list) will both miss this weekend’s game.

Kelly was just named to his third-straight Pro Bowl, and the 28-year-old is having another standout season for Indy. He’s appeared in at least 90 percent of his team’s offensive snaps in his 12 starts. 2020 fifth-round pick Danny Pinter will likely get the start in place of Kelly.

Glowinski was placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list earlier today. The former fourth-round pick has generally been a starter throughout his time with the Colts, and he’s started 12 of his 14 games in 2021. Chris Reed could get the nod in Glowinski’s stead.

While the team’s going to have to deal with some absences on their offensive lineman, they can rest easy knowing All-Pro Quenton Nelson will be in uniform. Per Holder, the offensive lineman was back at practice today after dealing with an illness earlier this week.

In other injury news, Holder notes that the team will also be without Andrew Sendejo (concussion) on Saturday. The 34-year-old defensive back joined the Colts back in September, and he’s started 10 of his 12 games this season. collecting 40 tackles.

Colts Place C Ryan Kelly On COVID-19 List

One of the Colts’ cornerstone players will be sidelined for their Week 13 game against the Texans. Ryan Kelly is now on Indianapolis’ reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Colts had previously seen every other offensive line starter miss time this season, with injuries intervening at various points for the acclaimed group. Kelly, however, had been Indy’s rock here. The former first-round pick had started each of the Colts’ 12 contests this season.

The rest of the Colts’ offensive front is currently healthy, and the Colts’ Week 14 bye points to Kelly missing just one game because of this development. While Kelly missed time in 2017 and ’18, he has only missed one game over the past three seasons. During that time, the Colts’ O-line has become one of the NFL’s best. Kelly made the Pro Bowl in 2019 and last season. This year, Jonathan Taylor has amassed a significant lead in rushing yards behind that group. Taylor’s 1,205 yards lead the league; Derrick Henry still sits second at 937.

Additionally, the Colts activated Khari Willis off IR and waived safety Josh Jones. A second-year safety starter, Willis has missed the past four games. The Colts had played without both safety starters in November, with Julian Blackmon having torn his Achilles early this season.

Colts Revise Ryan Kelly’s Contract

The Colts have converted $9MM of Ryan Kelly‘s salary into a signing bonus (Twitter link via Field Yates of ESPN.com). As a result, they’ll have an additional $6.75MM in cap room to work with. 

[RELATED: Colts Place Hilton On IR]

Kelly, who was recently activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list, signed a four-year, $50MM re-up with the Colts exactly one year ago. The former first-round pick received $34MM in guaranteed cash as a part of the deal, making him the highest-paid center in the league at the time of signing. He’s since been leapfrogged by Frank Ragnow (Lions; $13.5MM) and Corey Linsley (Chargers; $12.5MM).

The Colts drafted Kelly No. 18 overall in 2016. The Alabama product made his first Pro Bowl in 2019 as the Colts placed third in Pro Football Focus’ O-line rankings. He earned Pro Bowl nod N0. 2 last year and the Colts are hoping for more of the same, especially with star guard Quenton Nelson at less than 100%.

Minor NFL Transactions: 9/2/21

Here are Thursday’s minor moves, with the list being updated throughout the day:

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Carolina Panthers

  • Placed on IR: WR Aaron Parker

Cincinnati Bengals

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: LB Asmar Bial

Los Angeles Chargers

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: DT Chris Okoye, OL Tyree St. Louis

Los Angeles Rams

New England Patriots

New York Giants

Philadelphia Eagles

San Francisco 49ers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: RB Brian Hill

Washington Football Team

  • Released from IR with injury settlement: OT Rick Leonard

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/30/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here. Teams have until 3pm CT Tuesday to pare their rosters down to 53 players.

Arizona Cardinals

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Cleveland Browns

Chicago Bears

Dallas Cowboys

Denver Broncos

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

Indianapolis Colts

Jacksonville Jaguars

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

  • Released from IR via injury settlement: LB Darron Lee

Los Angeles Chargers

Los Angeles Rams

Miami Dolphins

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Philadelphia Eagles

Pittsburgh Steelers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team