Colts Officially Pick Up 5th Year Option For Ryan Kelly’s Rookie Contract
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INDIANAPOLIS – The first-round duo that the Colts have invested at quarterback and center will be working together for at least two more seasons.
That news became official earlier this week, when the Colts exercised the 5th year rookie option for Ryan Kelly. Chris Ballard had stated over the weekend that the Colts would be picking up the option.
A decision on whether or not to extend Kelly through the 2020 season was due by Friday. All first-round rookies have a four-year contract, with a team option for the fifth season. In 2020, Kelly’s contract will rise from the $1.9 million number he’s due this fall to $10.4 million. That number would currently be the 4th highest for any NFL center.
Kelly, the 18th overall pick back in 2016, actually becomes the first Colt to have that 5th year option picked up since Luck.
Even though injuries have been a bigger part to Kelly’s early NFL career than he would like, his play on the field took a big jump last year.
When Kelly was on the field in 2018, the Colts were undeniably a more productive offense, with Kelly working in-hand with Luck to identify pre-snap pass protection calls for the top group in the NFL in protecting the quarterback.
Injuries have sidelined Kelly for 13 games over the last two years though.
Kelly’s health is the only reason why the Colts would have been hesitant picking up the 2020 option, or thinking about offering their 25-year-old center a longer-term deal.
A few weeks back, Kelly was asked about the then uncertain contact future for him on the horizon.
“You don’t come in this league playing for contracts,” Kelly said. “Maybe initially that’s what you are thinking, but once you get into that, you just want to be out there with your guys. At the end of the day, watching games from the sideline is not fun…
"Obviously, a big thing for me will be going throughout the year and trying to be healthy the entire year."
With Kelly now under contract through 2020, the Colts have 4 of their 5 offensive line starters locked up through the next two years. Left tackle Anthony Castonzo is entering a contract year this fall.
At the start of the Colts offseason program, Kelly said that last season was the most fun he has had playing football.
“I think we have an incredible group,” Kelly says of his fellas in the trenches. “I give a lot of credit to coach Frank (Reich) and Chris for developing a room with high character guys.
“Last year was the most fun I’ve had playing football. I want to keep that rolling as much as I can.”
Well, it’s rolling for (at least) two more years.