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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s official, whoever the quarterback is for the Colts in 2020 can now breathe a little easier.

Frank Reich and Chris Ballard definitely are right now because Anthony Castonzo is officially returning to the Indianapolis Colts.

On Sunday afternoon, Castonzo agreed to terms on a new contract extension with the Colts. Tom Pelissero of the NFL Network reported the deal is for 2 years and $33 million. At $16.5 million annually, Castonzo is the NFL’s highest paid left tackle.

The return of Castonzo is monumental for the Colts offense and how they now will operate the rest of their offseason.

Even before the Colts got this deal done with Castonzo—after the 31-year-old left tackle informed the team he was putting off retirement for at least one more year—the team’s major decision makers did not shy away from stating what his return would mean.

In short, a whole lot.

“Anthony has played a lot of great football and he’s been a great Colt. He’s going to continue to be a great Colts” Ballard said back at the NFL Combine last month.

Having Castonzo around for potentially another two years definitely answers the left tackle question for 2020, and possibly 2021, but it shouldn’t remove the entire need from the off-season check list.

At some point in the early-ish rounds of the 2020 NFL Draft, the Colts would be wise to spend a selection on a potential left tackle of the future.

“That’s a position I think you always need to look at,” Ballard said of left tackle. “From a developmental standpoint, because of the speed of the game, the changes in technique on the O-line, I think it’s better to anticipate that a year or two earlier and start to get some guys in the pipeline.

“We’ve been fortunate here because we’ve had Joe Haeg and Le’Raven (Clark). We’ve had some young guys that have been able to develop and when they’ve had to step in and play, we were able to continue to play good football up front. We definitely have to keep our eye on that.”

In the present though, the Colts now have a huge domino back in 2020.

How important is the return of Castonzo?

Just listen to the guys lining up at left guard and center.

“My rookie year, there was a big difference the first 5 games playing without him to when he came back,” left guard Quenton Nelson says of Castonzo. “It’s been awesome playing next to him. He’s such a selfless guy in the way he plays. He’ll do anything to make my job easier and I just appreciate him, his worth ethic, the way he comes in every day and sets a great examples for a lot of the young guys on this team and we have a have young team so he sets a great example for all these guys. He’s a very valuable guy.”

“Since I’ve been here, he’s been just an incredible guy,” center Ryan Kelly says. “Day One, coming in and being the starting center was really nerve wracking, especially coming into a solidified offense. That was really tough for me. But as the years have gone by, we got tighter. We had deeper conversations, obviously not just about football stuff. An incredible player, 9 years in the league, all at left tackle and a position a lot of the times if you do your job right, you don’t get a lot of credit for it. He’s really played at a high level and has been an incredible mentor to everybody in the room. An incredible leader. A guy that I’ve watched with the way he’s prepared his body, takes care of it and really goes about things as a professional. He’s just an incredible peer to have.”