The feeling around Quenton Nelson’s contract discussion has never been whether he would receive a new deal from the Indianapolis Colts, but simply when it would happen.
NFL writer Maurice Moton agrees with that sentiment. Moton included Nelson on a list of eight players who are due to receive major pay increases and projected his next contract to include $50 million guaranteed.
“Nelson will undoubtedly top the highest-paid guard on the market, five-time Pro Bowler and All-Pro Brandon Scherff, who signed a three-year, $49.5 million contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars in March,” Moton wrote.
“While Scherff has impressive accolades, he’s missed 14 games since 2019. Nelson has missed four outings in his career (all last year). The latter’s exceptional play and durability will pay off.”
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Projecting Nelson’s Next Contract
In addition to $50 million guaranteed, Moton guessed that Nelson’s next deal will be for five years and worth $95 million overall. Such a contract would make Nelson the highest-paid guard in history.
As Moton noted, Scherff is currently the highest-paid guard with an average annual salary of $16.5 million.
Staff writer Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported in May that several veteran agents have told him that “Nelson will break the bank” with his next contract. He could receive as much as $3-4 million more than Scherff per season.
Moton’s $95 million over five years proposal would yield an average annual salary of $19 million for Nelson.
Although he didn’t make first-team All Pro last year, Nelson is still widely regarded as the best guard in the league according to Fowler. In each of his first three seasons, the Pro Football Focus player grades rated Nelson one of the top three guards in the NFL.
Fowler wrote that Nelson “has a career pass block win rate of 94.7%.”
Drafted sixth overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, Nelson made first-team All Pro three straight years from 2018-20. He’s also made the Pro Bowl in all four of his NFL seasons.
Quenton Nelson Cornerstone of Indianapolis’ Top Offensive Line
NFL analyst Michael Renner of PFF ranked the Colts offensive line as the 10th-best in the league on June 13. Nelson was the top reason why.
NFL writer Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports named the top duos from each NFL team in an article on June 9. That’s not a list very conducive for offensive linemen, but for the Colts, Kerr named Nelson and center Ryan Kelly as the team’s top duo.
“Nelson and Kelly are one of the best interior lineman duos in the NFL — and the pair line up right next to each other. Nelson has played 4,027 snaps in his career, allowing as many sacks as Pro Bowls and All-Pro selections earned (four),” Kerr wrote.
“The Colts offensive line has been one of the best in the NFL because of Nelson and Kelly. Both players should be paired next to each other for years to come.”
Indianapolis signed Kelly to a four-year, $50 million contract with $30 million guaranteed. There are three years remaining on that deal.
It will take considerably more money to lock up Nelson too, but with him and Kelly, one of the biggest strengths of the Colts entire roster will remain a strength.