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%.
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 EasonandSam Ehlingerinto 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.
Jonathan Taylor will not play for the Colts on Sunday. The AFC South leaders placed the rookie running back on their reserve/COVID-19 list Saturday.
Taylor is not believed to have submitted a positive coronavirus test, but his girlfriend tested positive after an out-of-town trip, according to NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero (on Twitter). Taylor has been in quarantine since Friday. NFL protocols mandate players who come in contact with a COVID-positive person must isolate for five days. Were Taylor to test positive, he would be sidelined at least 10 days.
The Colts will face the Titans without their leading rusher or starting center, having declared Ryan Kelly out with a neck injury. Kelly, who has not missed a start since the 2018 season, did not practice this week.
As for Indianapolis’ backfield, it will rely on holdovers Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins. The third-year backs have been effective at times this season, though none of Indianapolis’ backs is averaging more than four yards per carry. Hines scored twice against the Titans in the teams’ previous meeting. Taylor, however, leads the Colts with 135 carries for 518 yards and four TDs.
Ryan Kelly‘s extension talks progressed to an accepted offer Thursday. The Colts have announced they extended their veteran center.
The former first-round pick signed a four-year, $50MM contract, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. Kelly will receive $34MM in guarantees. In terms of per-year salary and guarantees, this contract makes Kelly the NFL’s highest-paid center by a comfortable margin.
Going into what was set to be a contract year, Kelly said at multiple junctures this year he sought a long-term stay in Indianapolis. This represents a key commitment for a Colts team that returns all five of its offensive line starters, forming one of the league’s top fronts. They re-signed left tackle Anthony Castonzo in March, ensuring their entire quintet would be back for the 2020 season.
Kelly’s $12.5MM-per-year average comes in well north of Rodney Hudson‘s previous center high-water mark, topping the market by more than $1MM in average annual value. The guarantees given to the Colts snapper top the previous No. 1 figure by $5.5MM. Kelly, 27, is now signed through the 2024 season.
The Colts drafted Kelly 18th overall out of Alabama in 2016. He made his first Pro Bowl last season, when the Colts placed third in Pro Football Focus’ year-end O-line rankings. Philip Rivers has said the Colts’ O-line played a key role in his decision to sign with Indianapolis. Rivers’ eventual successor will now be set to take snaps from Kelly, who has ranked as a top-10 center — per PFF — in each of the past two seasons.
The Saints are currently without one of their starting offensive linemen. That may be the case for a bit. Andrus Peat suffered a broken thumb, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. Recently re-signed to a lucrative deal, Peat is set to be out up to three weeks, Dan Graziano of ESPN.com notes. While the sixth-year guard could be ready for Week 1, the Saints have an experienced interior-line swing man ready to fill in. Former Vikings starter Nick Easton is now working in Peat’s place at left guard. Easton replaced an injured Peat as a starter in six games last season.
Here is the latest from the South divisions:
Alvin Kamara and the Saints began extension talks last week, but the sides may be far apart on terms. A deal is not particularly close at this juncture, Nick Underhill of NewOrleans.football tweets. Kamara is going into the final year of his third-round rookie contract. The three-time Pro Bowler will make just $2.13MM this season. Kamara joins Dalvin Cook, Aaron Jones and Joe Mixon among 2017 running back draftees in negotiations. This group will battle a few hurdles — short running back primes, the position’s low value, poor returns on a few recent high-end running back deals and a likely 2021 cap reduction — as they attempt to secure long-term deals.
Jameis Winston has hired a new agent. The new Saints QB2 has selected Reggie Johnson of Stellar Group to represent him, Greg Auman of The Athletic tweets. Johnson will be Winston’s third agent since 2018. The former Buccaneers starter may be a long-term option for the Saints, but unlike Drew Brees and Taysom Hill, Winston is signed only through 2020. He could also be set to test the market again next year.
Ryan Kelly said in May he and the Colts were discussing an extension. With a contract season looming, the Pro Bowl center insists he would like to stay in Indianapolis long-term, Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star notes. Given Kelly’s age (27) and importance to a Colts O-line that ranks as one of the NFL’s best, he is in line to become the NFL’s highest-paid center — perhaps by a notable margin. Rodney Hudson‘s second Raiders deal currently resides atop the center list, at $11.25MM per year. This AAV figure sits more than $3MM below the top guard salary and nearly $11MM south of the leading tackle contract.
The Titans worked out one of their former linebackers Monday. Will Compton auditioned for the team, Field Yates of ESPN.com tweets. Compton, 30, played 12 games for the 2018 Titans, starting two. He last played for the Raiders, suiting up for nine Oakland contests in 2019.
An assault case against Jaguars fullback Bruce Miller has been dismissed, according to Miller’s attorney (via Matt Barrows of The Athletic, on Twitter). Miller, 33, has not played since 2015. After allegedly assaulting a man and his son in 2016 in San Francisco, Miller was charged with aggravated assault and elder abuse.
Ryan Kelly‘s camp is discussing an extension with Colts GM Chris Ballard, according to the center (Twitter link via Zak Keefer of The Athletic). As it stands, Kelly has one year left on his rookie deal, via the fifth-year option.
Kelly says that he wants to spend his “entire career in Indianapolis” and Ballard is likely on board with that plan. Last year, Kelly started in all 16 of the Colts’ regular season games and anchored one of the league’s best offensive lines. He earned his first ever Pro Bowl nod for that campaign and he’ll likely score a major contract to match.
For now, Kelly is slated to earn $10.35MM in 2020, up from about $3.3MM last year. A new pact would likely put him in the range of $10MM-$12MM, positioning him as one of the NFL’s highest-paid centers.
“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.
April 27th, 2019 at 6:23pm CST by Andrew Ortenberg
The 2019 draft is officially in the rearview mirror. Coaches and front office heads are holding post-draft press conferences, and some news is beginning to trickle out of them.
Colts GM Chris Ballard said at his press conference that the team will pick up the fifth-year option on center Ryan Kelly‘s contract, per Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star (Twitter link). Kelly was taken by the Colts 18th overall back in 2016. This isn’t too surprising, as Kelly has been a starter since his rookie season. We don’t know the exact terms of the option yet, but it’ll pay him somewhere close to $10MM.
The fifth-year option is only guaranteed for injury, so it doesn’t actually ensure Kelly will be with the team at that price in 2020. Kelly has been a bit banged up the past couple of years, missing four games in 2018 and nine games in 2017. But he’s been solid when he’s been able to stay on the field, earning Pro Football Focus’ 14th-best grade among all centers last year.
Indianapolis’ offensive line took a major step forward last year, and was a huge part of the team’s success. Keeping Andrew Luck upright is the most important thing for the team, and they clearly view Kelly as the longterm answer at center. An Alabama product, Kelly will turn 26 next month.