Quenton Nelson

Colts Place G Quenton Nelson On IR

The hits keep coming for the Colts. The team placed All-Pro offensive guard Quenton Nelson on injured reserve today (per the team’s Twitter). Nelson recently suffered a high-ankle sprain, an injury that will keep him sidelined for at least the next three games.

The sixth-overall pick in the 2018 draft quickly established himself as one of the top offensive guards in the NFL. The lineman has earned a Pro Bowl nod and first-team All-Pro recognition in each of his three professional seasons.

Nelson hadn’t missed a game through his first three year in the NFL. He underwent surgery in early August to repair a bone issue in his foot, and his recovery timeline put him at risk of missing the season opener. The 25-year-old managed to battle back and appear in 100 percent of his team’s offensive snaps in Week 1 (and subsequently Week 2). Nelson was limited to only 13 snaps last weekend before suffering his injury.

The Colts made two additional moves today in anticipation of tomorrow’s matchup against the Dolphins. The team promoted both safety Ibraheim Campbell and quarterback Brett Hundley from the practice squad.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts QB Carson Wentz To Start Week 1

Colts QB Carson Wentz will be under center for the regular season opener against the Seahawks this afternoon, as Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL.com write. A Week 1 return was looking more and more likely for Indy’s new signal-caller, and his presence will obviously be key in the Colts’ push for a return to the postseason.

Wentz underwent surgery on August 2 to deal with an old broken bone in his foot that had chipped and splintered. The Colts initially announced a vague five- to 12-week timetable, and according to Pelissero and Rapoport, the wide range of possible return dates was because no one knew until Wentz went under the knife what type of surgery he would require.

If doctors needed to insert a screw to secure the splintered piece of bone, Wentz would have missed two to three months. Luckily, the bone fragment was simply removed, and Wentz’s recovery proceeded without complications.

Head coach Frank Reich said Wentz will not be limited in any way, though the offensive play-calling may be just a bit more conservative than it normally would be.

“As far as what he can do, he can do everything,” Reich said. “What will we actually call? Will we keep the reins on a little bit? Probably. Probably so. I just think that makes sense. I just think we’ll manage it. We’ll be smart.”

Wentz will be protected by All-World left guard Quenton Nelson, as Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Nelson underwent foot surgery of his own in August, but he subsequently battled a back issue that put his Week 1 status in doubt.

Unfortunately, left tackle Eric Fisher will not suit up today, as Schefter notes in a separate tweet. That means Julie’n Davenport will be protecting Wentz’s blind side.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts’ Eric Fisher Returns To Practice; Week 1 In Play

The Colts signed Eric Fisher knowing he might not be ready to resume his career until October, and the Pro Bowl left tackle’s recent placement on the reserve/COVID-19 list further complicated his comeback. But a return could still commence Sunday.

Fisher is off Indianapolis’ coronavirus list and practicing Wednesday in a limited capacity, marking his first practice as a Colt. The team did not place Fisher on its reserve/PUP list, despite the ninth-year veteran spending the preseason on Indy’s active/PUP list. A PUP designation to start the regular season would have meant a six-game absence. The way it’s going, Fisher stands to beat that timetable by a wide margin.

I look at him and think, man, he looks ready to go, but he hasn’t done anything in 10 days. We’re going to figure that out over the next couple of days,” Frank Reich said (via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson) of Fisher’s status. “… I think what I want to be guilty of, is, ‘Let’s push it. We can pull him back. Let’s try to get him ready now; let’s try to get him ready to play this week.’ Maybe that’s not realistic, but let’s try, and we can always pull him back.”

This would be a boon for a Colts team that has sustained injuries on its offensive front. Quenton Nelson recovered from foot surgery but is currently battling a back injury. And potential Fisher stopgap Sam Tevi is out for the season. The Colts have Julie’n Davenport and guard/tackle Matt Pryor as starting options in the even Fisher is not ready for Sunday’s Seahawks tilt.

Fisher, 30, suffered a torn Achilles in the AFC championship game, setting the Chiefs on course for a disastrous blocking effort in Super Bowl LV. While core-muscle surgery interfered with his 2019 season, Fisher has otherwise stayed healthy throughout his career. The former No. 1 overall pick started every game at left tackle for Kansas City from 2014-18.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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

Minor NFL Transactions: 8/26/21

We’ll keep track of today’s minor moves here:

Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Indianapolis Colts

Seattle Seahawks

Tennessee Titans

Washington Football Team

Colts’ Wentz, Nelson To Return To Practice

More good news for the Colts’ foot-injury ward. Both Carson Wentz and Quenton Nelson are set to be back at practice Monday, according to Frank Reich.

While each will be back on the field in a limited capacity, this news bodes well for the prospect of each starting the season on time. This possibility emerged last week, and nothing has taken place to indicate that was an overly optimistic timetable. Pro Bowl center Ryan Kelly will also be back at practice Monday, per Reich. Kelly has been out with an elbow injury.

Both Wentz and Nelson underwent foot surgeries in early August. The Colts initially announced a vague five- to 12-week timetable for Wentz, with the latter outcome thrusting the likes of Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger into the spotlight. Indianapolis may soon be off the hook from having to use either as a September spot starter, though Wentz missing extensive training camp time certainly hurts as he prepares to start for a new team.

Nelson, who has never missed a game as a Colt, has emerged as perhaps the NFL’s premier guard. He is 3-for-3 in first-team All-Pro appearances; no other post-merger offensive lineman has accomplished that feat. Nelson will be on track for a record-setting extension come 2022, with the Colts having already taken care of 2018 draftees Darius Leonard and Braden Smith.

The Colts are currently battling issues on their O-line, which has just Smith and Mark Glowinski healthy among the team’s optimal first-string quintet. But with Nelson and Kelly on their way back, Eric Fisher‘s timeline would be the only uncertain matter on the Colts’ offensive front.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Colts’ Carson Wentz, Quenton Nelson To Play Week 1?

Great news for the Colts. Quarterback Carson Wentz is “trending” to play in the season opener against the Seahawks (Twitter link via Chris Mortensen of ESPN.com). Ditto for All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson, who also underwent foot surgery. 

[RELATED: Colts Extend Frank Reich, Chris Ballard]

Things were looking bleak for the Colts just a few days ago as both players were projected to miss a chunk of September. Nothing’s certain just yet, but it appears that Wentz and Nelson will be good to go after all. With Wentz under center, Jacob Eason and Sam Ehlinger will no longer have to cram for the QB1 role — the youngsters are now back to competing for the backup job.

Nelson, meanwhile, should be able to man LG to start the year. Now, the Colts just need more good news on the rest of their front five. Center Ryan Kelly is still nursing an elbow injury that’s keeping him off the practice field while new left tackle Eric Fisher is working his way back from an Achilles tear. Fortunately, Kelly’s elbow issue doesn’t seem all that serious and the latest word on Fisher is promising, even though there’s no timeline for his full return just yet.

Yeah, I’ve seen him – just watching a couple of his workouts with our trainers working him out, I think he looks really good,” head coach Frank Reich said this week. “In fact, I saw him doing something the other day and I yelled over, ‘Put some pads on him!’ I thought he looked that good.”

The Colts hope to have all three lineman healthy with support — not spot starts — from Chris Reed and Sam Tevi.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Surgery For Colts’ Quenton Nelson

The Colts got a double dose of bad news this week. In addition to quarterback Carson Wentz, star guard Quenton Nelson will also miss a portion of the season (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). 

[RELATED: Carson Wentz To Have Surgery, Out 5-12 Weeks]

Like Wentz, Nelson also needs repair on a bone issue in his foot. Schefter hears that Nelson is looking at a similar timeline — that means the three-time All-Pro will be out for the next 5-12 weeks, likely preventing him from playing in the Colts’ season opener.

You can’t make this stuff up,” head coach Frank Reich told reporters today, adding that Wentz’s surgery went as well as it could have.

The Colts opted to keep Nelson at his left guard post, despite the retirement of longtime left tackle Anthony Castonzo. That’s where he’ll be once he’s ready to return to action, but they’ll be dealing with lots of holes up front in the interim. Center Ryan Kelly is still nursing an elbow injury that’s keeping him off the practice field while new LT Eric Fisher is still returning from an Achilles tear. For now, they’ll try to get by with more from backups like Chris Reed and Sam Tevi.

Nelson, the No. 6 overall pick of the 2018 draft, has earned First Team All-Pro honors in each of his three professional seasons. The Colts have him under contract through 2022 (at a rate of $14MM) thanks to his fifth-year option.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

2022 NFL Fifth-Year Option Tracker

NFL teams have until May 3 to officially pick up their options on 2018 first-rounders who are entering the final year of their rookie deals. In a change from years past, fifth-year option seasons are fully guaranteed, rather than guaranteed for injury only. Meanwhile, salaries are now determined by a blend of the player’s position, initial draft placement, and specific performance metrics:

  • 2-time Pro Bowlers (excluding alternate Pro Bowlers) will earn the same as their position’s franchise tag.
  • 1-time Pro Bowlers will earn the equivalent of the transition tag.
  • Players who achieve any of the following will get the average of the 3rd-20th highest salaries at their position:
    • 75%+ snaps in two of their first three seasons
    • 75%+ average across all three seasons
    • 50%+ in each of first three seasons
  • Players who do not hit any of those benchmarks will get the average of the 3rd-25th top salaries at their position.

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

Updated 4-30-21, 4:24pm CT

  1. QB Baker Mayfield, Browns: Exercised ($18.858MM)
  2. RB Saquon Barkley, Giants: Exercised ($7.217MM)
  3. QB Sam Darnold, Panthers (via Jets): Pending ($18.858MM)
  4. CB Denzel Ward, Browns — Exercised ($13.294MM)
  5. LB Bradley Chubb, Broncos — Pending ($12.716MM)
  6. G Quenton Nelson, Colts — Pending ($13.754MM)
  7. QB Josh Allen, Bills: Pending ($23.106MM)
  8. LB Roquan Smith, Bears: Exercised ($9.735MM)
  9. OT Mike McGlinchey, 49ers: Exercised ($10.88MM)
  10. QB Josh Rosen, Cardinals: N/A
  11. S Minkah Fitzpatrick, Steelers (via Dolphins): Exercised ($10.612MM)
  12. DT Vita Vea, Buccaneers: Exercised ($7.638MM)
  13. DT Daron Payne, Washington — Exercised ($8.529MM)
  14. DE Marcus Davenport, Saints: Exercised ($9.553MM)
  15. OT Kolton Miller, Raiders — N/A (extension)
  16. LB Tremaine Edmunds, Bills: Pending ($12.716MM)
  17. S Derwin James, Chargers: Exercised ($9.052MM)
  18. CB Jaire Alexander, Packers: Exercised ($13.294MM)
  19. LB Leighton Vander Esch, Cowboys: Pending ($9.145MM)
  20. C Frank Ragnow, Lions: Exercised ($12.657MM)
  21. C Billy Price, Bengals: Declined ($10.413MM)
  22. LB Rashaan Evans, Titans: Pending ($9.735MM)
  23. OT Isaiah Wynn, Patriots: Pending ($10.413 MM)
  24. WR D.J. Moore, Panthers: Exercised ($11.116MM)
  25. TE Hayden Hurst, Falcons (via Ravens): Pending ($5.428MM)
  26. WR Calvin Ridley, Falcons: Pending ($11.116MM)
  27. RB Rashaad Penny, Seahawks: Pending ($4.523MM)
  28. S Terrell Edmunds, Steelers: Pending ($6.753MM)
  29. DT Taven Bryan, Jaguars: Pending ($7.638MM)
  30. CB Mike Hughes, Vikings: Pending ($12.643MM)
  31. RB Sony Michel, Patriots: Pending ($4.523MM)
  32. QB Lamar Jackson, Ravens: Exercised ($23.106MM)

Colts Plan To Keep Quenton Nelson At Guard

Longtime Colts left tackle Anthony Castonzo announced his retirement in January, leaving Indianapolis with a major hole to fill this offseason. The team did add Sam Tevi and Julie’n Davenport on modest free agent contracts, but neither player profiles as a particularly appealing Castonzo replacement.

That has led to some chatter that the Colts could move all-world left guard Quenton Nelson to left tackle, given that it’s generally easier to find a quality LG than a quality LT. But in a recent radio interview on 107.5 The Fan (via Joel A. Erickson of the Indianapolis Star on Twitter), team owner Jim Irsay said the team will ideally keep Nelson right where he is and bring in a left tackle from outside the organization.

One of the top options that was available this offseason, Orlando Brown, was recently traded from Baltimore to Kansas City, and it’s unclear if the Colts were one of the handful of teams that had contacted the Ravens about a potential Brown deal. It’s also unclear if they are one of the teams that are monitoring the market for former Chiefs LT Eric Fisher.

Luckily for GM Chris Ballard, this year’s draft offers plenty of quality tackle prospects. Although it’s not always ideal to start a rookie LT on a team that has championship aspirations, the presence of Nelson will go a long way towards helping that rookie start living up to his potential right away. And if the draft does not yield a player that profiles as an immediate blindside protector for new QB Carson Wentz, Ballard could circle back to a player like Fisher or former Steeler Alejandro Villanueva (though Villanueva is presently expected to sign with the Ravens as a Brown replacement).

Nelson, the No. 6 overall pick of the 2018 draft, has earned First Team All-Pro honors in each of his three professional seasons. Ballard will soon exercise Nelson’s fifth-year option for 2022 — which will guarantee the Notre Dame product just shy of $14MM — but look for player and team to at least discuss an extension long before the 2022 season gets underway.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.