Instant takeaways from Colts picking up Kwity Paye’s 5th-year option

Just before the deadline passed, the Colts announced that they picked up the fifth-year option for the 2025 season for edge rusher Kwity Paye.

All first round draft picks come with a four-year rookie deal and a fifth-year option for the team to either pick up or decline. If picked up, the player remains under contract for one more year at a predetermined salary. If declined, the player then becomes a free agent at the end of their original four-year rookie deal.

Following the news that the Colts exercised Paye’s option, here are instant takeaways from that decision.

– Paye’s fifth year option will pay him $13.38 million. On the surface that may seem like a large figure. But in the grand scheme of the NFL, a cap hit of that magnitude at edge rusher in 2024 is ranked 21st. And in terms of total dollars paid, that figure ranks 28th.

– From a salary cap perspective, since the fifth-year option is essentially a one-year deal, all $13.38 million will count towards the Colts 2025 salary cap.

– Paye’s sack production has continued to increase each season, culminating with 8.5 sacks last season. However, he generated only 28 pressures in 410 pass rush snaps. That is a very high pressure-to-sack ratio, and likely one that isn’t repeatable without more consistent pressure.

– Not to be forgotten about at the edge rusher position is also the importance of run defense, where Paye has performed very well. He ranked 11th out of 58 eligible edge rushers last season in PFF’s run defense grade. From a skill-set standpoint, Paye is a very nice complement to Laiatu Latu, who is known for his ability to get after the quarterback.

– Paye is still only 25 years old. As defensive coordinator Gus Bradley mentioned when meeting with reporters on Wednesday, it can take pass rushers four or even five years before they really hit their stride. By picking up Paye’s option, the Colts continue to bet on his potential, and as already discussed, do so without breaking the bank.

– The Colts picking up Paye’s fifth-year option is just another example of how they continue to invest very heavily into the defensive front. So far this offseason they have re-signed Grover Stewart, added Raekwon Davis, extended DeForest Buckner, and drafted Laiatu Latu in the first round.

– Fellow edge rusher Dayo Odeyingbo is entering a contract season and after the Colts drafted Latu and picked up the fifth-year option for Paye, it’s fair to wonder what that means for Odeyingbo, who had eight sacks and 17 quarterback hits in 2023. Retaining both players, especially if Odeyingbo continues to improve, could be difficult.

– At any time during the season or after, the Colts could choose to extend Paye in place of the one-year fifth-year option if he puts together a strong performance in 2024. This would also help lower next year’s cap hit as well.

– Although the Colts ranked fifth in total sacks last season, they have to get after the quarterback more consistently in 2024, ranking 23rd in total pressures and 22nd in pressure rate. Similarly to what was discussed with Paye, if the Colts’ defense as a whole wants to maintain that level of sack production, more regular pressure is required.

Here is what defensive coordinator Gus Bradley had to say about Paye while meeting with the local media on Wednesday:

“You talk about trust, there’s a man that you trust. On the edge, does things right, comes to work every day, you know what you’re going to get, highly respected by all of his teammates and I believe, and I think all of our coaches and even this organization – there is another level for him.”

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire