Nelson, the Colts’ first-round selection (sixth overall) in the 2018 draft, has started all 48 regular-season games and three postseason games at left guard. He’s been voted an All-Pro in all three seasons — the first offensive lineman and the fifth player since the 1970 merger to be so honored. The others were Barry Sanders, Keith Jackson, Lawrence Taylor and Earl Campbell.
Before the Notre Dame star arrived in Indianapolis, the Colts had one of the leakiest lines in the NFL. After Nelson was plugged immediately into the starting lineup, Indy became one of the league’s stingiest. The Colts have allowed the second-fewest sacks (71) in the NFL over the past three seasons and also opened holes for two straight 1,000-yard rushers.
So paying Nelson roughly $13.8 million to keep him through 2022 was a no-brainer even after they re-signed center Ryan Kelly to a four-year, $50 million contract extension in September.