The Indianapolis Colts have reportedly signed linebacker Darius Leonard to a five-year contract extension on a deal that makes him the highest-paid linebacker in the NFL, per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.
The deal is reportedly set for five years and is worth $99.25 million, which tops the recently signed deal for San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner—it was expected to be higher.
According to Rapoport, Leonard will receive $20 million in each of his first three seasons of the extension. The deal also includes $52.5 million guaranteed.
The #Colts & All-Pro LB Darius Leonard agree to terms on a blockbuster 5-year, $99.25M contract extension to make him the highest paid ILB, sources say. He gets $20M per year over the 1st 3 years. The deal, done by @MalkiKawa & Ethan Lock, includes $52.5M guaranteed.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 8, 2021
Leonard has been one of the most productive linebackers in the league since he was selected in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft.
In his 42 games played since entering the league, Leonard has recorded 268 solo tackles, 15.0 sacks and seven interceptions. No linebacker since 2000 has recorded those numbers in their first 42 games.
The Colts also extended right tackle Braden Smith at the start of training camp so they were able to get both deals done before Week 1 as they wanted. Next up for the Colts could be running back Nyheim Hines, but it isn’t clear how close they are to a deal.
Regardless, they got their two big extensions out of the way and will be paying Leonard a premium to be a leader in the middle of the defense.
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