Colts among teams who have invested the most in the offensive line

Coming into the 2024 season, the Indianapolis Colts are among the teams that have invested the most into their offensive line.

Jason Fitzgerald of Over the Cap (OTC) compiled a top 10 list of the teams who have the most ‘new money per year’ going toward the offensive line. Coming in at No. 7 was the Colts, with $62.83 million devoted to the trenches.

Leading the way is Philadelphia at $78.29 million, with Cleveland at No. 5 at $66.15 million. Rounding out the top 10 are the New York Giants, with $58.64 million invested into the offensive line.

Of the Colts’ highest cap hits this season, three of the top four play along the offensive line. Quenton Nelson has a cap hit of $25.2 million, according to OTC. Braden Smith’s cap hit is third at $16.68 million, followed by Ryan Kelly at $14.62 million.

This investment has paid off for GM Chris Ballard. Last season, the Colts ranked 10th in yards per carry in the run game and allowed the ninth-lowest pressure rate. The Colts will be returning their entire starting five this year as well.

In addition to cap space, the Colts have also invested heavily into this group via draft picks that last few years. Recent selections include Bernhard Raimann, Blake Freeland, Jake Witt, and this year, Tanor Bortolini, and Matt Goncalves.

While much of the attention this offseason has been around putting more playmakers around quarterback Anthony Richardson – and that certainly is important – step one for consistent success on offense starts upfront.

“One,” said GM Chris Ballard when meeting with reporters before the draft, “when you’ve got a young quarterback, you’ve got to protect him. That’s one which I think we did a pretty good job last year, and we’ll continue to do well. Tony (Sparano Jr.) has done well with that group. We’ve got a talented group of O-linemen. You want to continue to add playmakers around him.”

Looking ahead to next offseason, there are some potential unknowns coming in regards to the Colts offensive line. Both Kelly and Will Fries are set to be free agents, while Smith will be in the final year of his deal and comes with a nearly $20 million cap hit.

That’s where the investment into the offensive line through the draft comes into play, with Freeland, Goncalves, and Bortolini hopefully providing stability for any potential changes that could end up taking place.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire