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Indianapolis Colts sign right tackle Braden Smith to huge extension

The Indianapolis Colts continued to invest heavily in their offensive line on Wednesday, agreeing to terms with right tackle Braden Smith on a four-year, $70 million contract extension.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported the details of Smith’s massive new contract:

Smith was a second-round pick out of Iowa in 2018 and has lived up to that billing, ranking 12th and 16th respectively over the past two seasons in Pro Football Focus’ offensive tackle grades.

The 25-year-old is a key cog in an offensive line that’s already shelled out big money for All-Pro guard Quenton Nelson, and featured the aggressive move to sign Eric Fisher in free agency this offseason.

While Smith and Nelson should continue playing at an elite level, Fisher may be the X-factor in Indianapolis’ offense in 2021. Fisher started for the Kansas City Chiefs for a long time, but he suffered a torn Achilles in the AFC Championship Game and probably won’t be fully ready for Week 1.

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What’s next for Indianapolis Colts after Braden Smith contract extension

What's next for Indianapolis Colts after Braden Smith contract extension
Jan 3, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Darius Leonard (53) pumps up the crowd in the second half against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Expectations will be high for the Colts as they seek to take the next step coming off an 11-win season in which they made the playoffs.

Carson Wentz is replacing the retired Philip Rivers at quarterback. Wentz is hoping a reunion with former Philadelphia Eagles offensive coordinator and current Colts head coach Frank Reich will revive his career after a disastrous 2020 campaign.

It was smart for Indianapolis general manager Chris Ballard to secure the future in the trenches, because especially with Wentz right now, it’s going to take all the pieces around him to lift him out of his rut.

The initiative to pay in-house talent now suggests the Colts will set themselves up well to acquire a cost-effective rookie QB in the 2022 NFL Draft if Wentz doesn’t pan out.

You can bet superstar linebacker Darius Leonard is the next man up for a huge contract in Indy. Leonard is entering the final year of his rookie contract as a former second-round pick, and stands to make something in the neighborhood of the big deal the San Francisco 49ers just rewarded to Fred Warner.

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