Colts: Ryan Kelly contract is only the beginning for solidifying future of OL

The Indianapolis Colts made Ryan Kelly the NFL’s highest-paid center.

The fans have asked, and general manager Chris Ballard has answered. On Thursday, the Indianapolis Colts signed star center Ryan Kelly to a reported four-year, $50 million contract to make him the highest-paid player at his position. Well-deserved!

The 2019 Pro Bowler overcame injuries in 2017 and 2018 to rebound, start all 16 games, and prove his worth on a stacked Colts offensive line. Kelly was entering the final year of his five-year rookie deal so many were wondering when the front office was going to get this done to avoid the distraction in such a crucial year.

Ballard got it done, however, he’s got plenty more work to do along the offensive line.

Right now, the entire unit is locked up through the 2021 season, but a lot of questions remain despite Indy arguably sporting the best OL in the NFL.

How much longer will Anthony Castonzo last as the team’s left tackle? How much money does the team have to set aside for the eventual monster Quenton Nelson extension? Does Mark Glowinski have a future beyond 2021? Is it going to cost too much to keep Braden Smith around after next season?

It’s great the team is set for the next two years, but as always, future implications loom large when it comes to retaining players and keeping the salary cap in mind.

The Colts will still enter the offseason with over $70 million in cap space even after the Kelly deal, though you have to think a good chunk of that will go away since they’ll need to address the quarterback, wide receiver, running back, defensive end, safety and cornerback positions with Philip Rivers, TY Hilton, Marlon Mack, Justin Houston, Al-Quadin Muhammad, Malik Hooker, Xavier Rhodes and TJ Carrie hitting the open market.

Chances are, the Colts will have a much better idea in regards to how they’re going to keep the OL intact beyond 2021 once they settle all of those looming issues that no doubt take precedent.

And if there’s any GM that can do it, it’s Ballard.