A topic of conversation surrounding the Indianapolis Colts over the past few months has revolved around money. No, not salary cap space, but the potential extensions that may be given out to some of the team’s most talented players.
The 2018 draft class for the Colts is sure to go down as one of the best in franchise history. After three years, this class has produced a combined six All-Pro selections and five Pro Bowls, and that’s just from Quenton Nelson and Darius Leonard.
The 2021 season marks Year 4 for this class. For those not named Nelson due to his fifth-year option, this becomes a contract year and potentially their last season before entering free agency. The Colts would like to wrap things up contractually with a couple of players to make sure it does not get to that point.
As the NFL offseason wraps up this week with mandatory minicamps, Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com gave his takes on what matters in terms of the information we can take from the offseason programs. He made it clear that the Colts are adamant about getting extensions done for their key players.
Most NFL teams are nearing their only true vacations of the year. The first order of business when executives get back to the office will be securing long-term extension for core players. When Colts owner Jim Irsay spoke on the prospective deals for linebacker Darius Leonard and tackle Braden Smith (who each have one year left on their rookie contracts) this week, it became clear that’s where the Colts will spend some of their significant cap space before September.
The Colts have talked all offseason about wanting to get extensions done for Leonard and Smith, securing their long-term futures in Indianapolis. Leonard has become one of the best linebackers in the league and the heartbeat of the defense. Smith has gone from being a possible option at guard to one of the most underrated and steady right tackles in the game.
The Colts have been planning on these extensions for some time now. General Manager Chris Ballard himself has spoken about wanting to make sure they have the cap space available to afford these guys when the time arrives. They are a team that likes to draft, develop, and reward their own.
Leonard and Smith exemplify how Ballard wants to build a team. Both were drafted by the Colts, developed into massive contributors for this team on the field and in the locker room, and deserve to be compensated for it.
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Speaking of Ballard, Rosenthal also mentions how he could be in line for an extension himself. The Athletic has reported that Irsay would love to ink his general manager to an extension sometime during these summer months as well. Ballard has completely rebuilt this roster and given the Colts their deepest and most complete team in many years.
Irsay would be a very happy man to have his savvy general manager, his ferocious linebacker, and his rock-solid right tackle all locked up long-term before Week One.
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