INDIANAPOLIS – Quenton Nelson didn’t want to move, and the Colts knew that wasn’t the best option for the team, either.
The Colts had a full-on Super Bowl mindset when eventually deciding to go with Eric Fisher as the left tackle replacement for Anthony Castonzo.
Such a decision came in May, after sifting through tons of other ideas and options.
One of those included Nelson, the All-Pro guard, who hasn’t started a game at tackle since high school.
While such an idea was explored, it was never near the top of the list.
“That was not an option that we wanted to have to do right from the very start,” Frank Reich said of the thought-process at left tackle this offseason. “As Chris (Ballard) and I and the staff talked about it, it was a legitimate option, but you’ve got a guy who is one of the best left guards in the game. Maybe he will end up being…one of the best ever.
“Talk about sticking your neck out, that would be sticking your neck out – moving one of the best at his position and taking him off of that position.
“We did want to do everything we could do to keep him at left guard. We were keeping the option open to put him out there, but we knew we were going to work pretty hard against that.”
Keeping Nelson at guard was enticing for several reasons.
Nelson lining up at left guard, thus having the ability to be a more frequent puller in both directions, is a massive part of what the Colts want to when pounding the rock.
In the pass game, with more and more elite interior rushers showing up in today’s NFL, Nelson’s presence in the middle of the offensive line helps to firm up that important part of the protection game.
Financially, Nelson switching over to left tackle would have helped the Colts.
As Nelson nears the end of his rookie contract (he’s signed through 2022), he’s going to absolutely shatter what a contract looks like for an NFL offensive guard.
Remember, Nelson and Barry Sanders are the only two players in league history to be named All-Pro in each of their first three seasons.
But when it comes to the Colts having the highest ceiling among their entire offensive line, Nelson staying on his Hall of Fame path was wisest.
“I definitely wanted to stay at left guard,” Nelson says. “But I was going to do whatever the team required me to do. You just have to do what is required and help the team in any way possible to win games. So if that had me at left tackle or had me at left guard, I was going to do it.”
While that continues to make Nelson the great teammate that he is, both himself and the Colts know the route that needed to be taken.