Starting offensive guard Ryan Lilja and backup tight end Ben Utecht will both be returning to Indianapolis for the 2006 season. Both were exclusive rights free agents, restricting their negotiating power.
Lilja, who joined the Colts in 2004 after being released by the Chiefs, completed his last year of an intial 2-year deal with base salaries of $230,000 and $305,000. He has agreed to a new one-year pact with a base salary of $385,000.
During his first two seasons in Indianapolis, Lilja has stepped up to start in 22 games, including all 16 in 2005.
Tight end Ben Utecht had a strong training camp for Indy in 2005, making some nice catches and showing good mobility after the catch. Utecht had the same base salaries as Lilja the past two seasons, but agreed to a more modest increase from $305,000 last year to $310,000 this year.
Utecht saw action in 12 games during the 2005 season and had three catches, including two for touchdowns.