Darius Leonard, Colts Reportedly Agree to 5-Year, $99.25M Contract Extension

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IIIAugust 8, 2021

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard (53) celebrates after an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Zach Bolinger)
Zach Bolinger/Associated Press

Linebacker Darius Leonard and the Indianapolis Colts agreed to a five-year, $99.25 million contract extension Sunday.

Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Leonard will be the highest-paid inside linebacker in football:

Ian Rapoport @RapSheet

The deal for Darius Leonard and the #Colts had been at a standstill for a couple weeks, but came together right when Edgerrin James took the stage last night. Serendipity. https://t.co/ko10AltxgR

Leonard was a second-round pick in 2018 and quickly made a huge impact, winning Defensive Rookie of the Year and earning first-team All-Pro honors in 2018 and 2020 (second team in 2019).

Through his first three seasons in Indianapolis, the 26-year-old has compiled a staggering 416 combined tackles, 22 pass deflections, 15 sacks, nine forced fumbles and seven interceptions. That effort earned him a new deal entering his fourth season, a year before he was set to become an unrestricted free agent.

Leonard earned $7.2 million on his rookie contract. Spotrac projected his value at $19 million per year and expected his next contract could reach four years and $76.8 million, which would have made him the third-highest-paid linebacker in the league behind Khalil Mack and Von Miller.

For his part, it never appeared the South Carolina State product had any concern over a deal coming together.

"They take value in me," Leonard told NFL Network in May. "Hopefully, that will show. I think I put in enough work the past three years, I give it my all day in and day out, never miss a day. Once I step on that field I give everything I got, and they know that. Hopefully, we get everything settled and hopefully we're good to go."

The Colts open their season Sept. 12 at home against the Seattle Seahawks.