The Indianapolis Colts and left tackle Anthony Castonzo have agreed to a new deal, the team announced Sunday. It is a two-year deal worth $33 million, according to NFL Media's Tom Pelissero. Castonzo had considered retirement, but elected to keep playing earlier this offseason.
Indianapolis is ecstatic that the lineman is returning. In speaking to a team representative at the NFL combine, they expressed their belief that Castonzo is one of the five best offensive tackles in the game. He is largely underrated by the general public, but the team's investment in him has sent a clear message of his worth. Both parties had been motivated to get a deal done.
In terms of average annual salary ($16.5 million), Castonzo's new contract is on par with the one offensive tackle Trent Brown received from the Oakland Raiders last offseason. Eagles offensive tackle Lane Johnson is the league's highest paid lineman at $18 million annually.
Castonzo, the No. 22 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, does not have the distinction of playing in a Pro Bowl or being named an All-Pro, but none of that matters to the Colts. They rewarded a veteran who has started 132 of 144 possible career regular season games.
The Colts entered Sunday with the second most salary cap space in the league at $85.3 million, according to Spotrac.com. Their other top free agents include tight end Eric Ebron, wide receiver Devin Funchess and pass rusher Jabaal Sheard. The return of Castonzo ensures that one of the best left sides in football -- with left guard Quenton Nelson -- remains intact for at least two more seasons.
NFL free agency is tentatively scheduled to commence March 18. Indianapolis holds the No. 13 overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.