Colts: How Taylor Moton’s contract helps with Braden Smith negotiations

Colts RT Braden Smith (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Colts RT Braden Smith (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Per the latest reports, the Indianapolis Colts are currently entrenched in negotiations with linebacker Darius Leonard and right tackle Braden Smith.

While there’s reason to be optimistic about that, Indy reportedly started negotiations months ago, and fans are starting to lose their patience.

That’s understandable, but there’s reason to believe there’s a light at the end of the tunnel … at least concerning Smith’s situation. Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Panthers and Taylor Moton inked a four-year, $72 million extension, including $43 million in guaranteed.

The deal makes Moton one of the highest-paid right tackles in the NFL, and deservedly so considering his body of work in Carolina. This also takes another right tackle off the extension board this offseason, and it truly couldn’t come at a better time for the Colts.

Carolina just helped the Colts out with Braden Smith negotiations.

So, how does this help the Colts?

Well, the terms of Moton’s deal confirm he’ll be making $18 million per year, which puts him just below Saints standout Ryan Ramczyk ($19.2 million) in terms of annual average value. While you can argue all day whether Smith deserves more or less from the Colts, it’s reasonable to assume that his deal could fall right in the middle, somewhere around the $17.5-$18.5 million range.

The bottom line is Smith is one of the best right tackles in the NFL, and he proved that with emphasis last season, playing the most pass-blocking snaps (471) of any tackle without conceding a sack. The former second-round pick was also penalized just three times, and both stats speak volumes given the immobile Philip Rivers was under center for Indy.

If the Colts were waiting for Moton’s agreement to get done, or if they’ve simply been having trouble determining what Smith deserves annually, this news should help the front office settle both predicaments. After all, here’s how the AAV rankings for right tackles stack up.

  • Ryan Ramczyk ($19.2 million)
  • Taylor Moton ($18 million)
  • Lane Johnson ($18 million)
  • Jack Conklin ($14 million)
  • La’el Collins ($10 million)

Since the Colts don’t have the financial wherewithal to make Smith the highest-paid RT in the league — Leonard and Nelson will likely reset the market at their respective positions — and he clearly deserves more annually than Collins and Conklin, we could be looking at a salary anywhere between $16-$18.5 million per year. Anything lower or greater than that would be shocking.

That pretty much settles it, folks. Though it would be ideal to have a timeline in terms of when Smith plans on signing, Colts fans should sleep comfortably knowing they, thanks to Moton and the Panthers, have a good idea what the extension will end up looking like.