The Colts have a top prospective free agent on each of their lines with still some time ahead of the 2023 offseason.
According to NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal, two Indianapolis Colts stars have been named among his ‘Top 25 NFL free agents in 2023’: offensive guard Quenton Nelson and defensive end Yannick Ngakoue—coming in at 3rd and 16th overall respectively:
3. Quenton Nelson
Indianapolis Colts · OG · Age 26
It will be a shock if Nelson doesn’t eventually sign the biggest contract for a guard in NFL history with the Colts. Still, there hasn’t been much chatter about a deal being close.
16. Yannick Ngakoue
Indianapolis Colts · Edge · Age 27
It’s not a great sign that Ngakoue is on his fifth team, but he absolutely provides speed off the edge if he’s used correctly.
Regarding Nelson, the 4x NFL All-Pro continues to be among the top players at his respective position (and in the entire league)—and consistently has been since being drafted 6th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Notre Dame by the Horseshoe.
He’s made 61 career starts during that same span and has cemented himself as one of the most physical, athletic, intelligent, and best blocking guards in all of football—and appears on the fast-track to Canton, Ohio, at his current Hall of Fame career pace.
He’s quickly become the catalyst to the Colts much improved offensive line in recent seasons and is a tone-setter for the unit—routinely delivering highlight pancake blocks in the process. He’s a ‘lead by example’ leader in their locker room and franchise cornerstone.
Nelson battled some injuries last season—which limited his otherwise, NFL First-Team All-Pro blocking (although he still played at a high, Pro Bowl caliber level), which means 2022 is very important in a contract season.
Rest assured, Nelson will become the highest paid offensive guard in NFL history one way or the other (if not by the Colts ultimately, another NFL team)—but it could be a situation where the Colts elect for the franchise tag over inking him to a long-term mega-deal (if an extension isn’t already reached still yet this offseason)—should injuries arise again.
Meanwhile, Ngakoue should provide a much needed consistent impact speed rusher off the edge for the Colts. He recorded 10.0 sacks last season for the Las Vegas Raiders and will once again be reunited with defensive coordinator Gus Bradley—only in Indianapolis.
Still only 27 years old, the former Raiders defensive captain (and 2017 NFL Pro Bowler for the Jacksonville Jaguars) figures to be in the Colts long-term plans going forward, especially if he has another close to double-digit sack season yet again.
Pass rushers are held at a premium in today’s passing league, and the Colts were pretty fortunate to have a found an elite one again by landing Ngakoue this offseason. He’s already seemed to have taken a liking to the city and the Colts fanbase, so a multi-year deal would make sense for both sides—if Ngakoue’s production is there (which it likely should be).