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INDIANAPOLIS – Chris Ballard insisted selecting Quenton Nelson with the 6th overall pick in the 2018 draft was one of the easiest decisions he’d ever made.

So was exercising the fifth-year option on Nelson’s rookie contract. That bit of business was made official Wednesday.

At some point next offseason the Indianapolis Colts are expected to sign Nelson to an extension that will make him one of the NFL’s highest-paid offensive linemen regardless of position. Until that time, he’ll earn $13.75 million in 2022. That figure reflects Nelson being named to multiple Pro Bowls in his first three seasons. Nelson carries a $7.77 million hit against the 2021 salary cap.

Nelson has started all 51 games and made history in the process. He’s the first player in franchise history to be selected first-team All-Pro in each of his first three seasons. Nelson also is the only offensive lineman since 1970 and fifth player in NFL history – joining Barry Sanders, Keith Jackson, Lawrence Taylor and Earl Campbell – named first-team All-Pro in in his first three seasons.

Since Nelson’s arrival, the Colts have allowed the second-fewest sacks (71) in the league and featured a formidable run game. They’ve had 1,000-yard rushers in consecutive seasons – Marlon Mack in 2019, Jonathon Taylor last year – for the first time since 2003-05.

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You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.