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Indianapolis Colts sign Darius Leonard to five-year, $99.25 million contract extension

Darius Leonard, Indianapolis Colts
May 27, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Darius Leonard (53) works out during Indianapolis Colts OTAs. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Indianapolis Colts and All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard have agreed to a record-breaking contract extension, making him the highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL.

Leonard, a second-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, sought a long-term deal this offseason. After making the Pro Bowl for the second time in his NFL career, Indianapolis is rewarding one of its best players with a massive contract.

According to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, Leonard is signing a five-year extension worth $99.25 million. The agreement includes a $20 million annual salary over the first three years of the contract.

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Just a few weeks ago, the San Francisco 49ers made Fred Warner the highest-paid off-ball linebacker in NFL history. But the Colts were determined to retain Leonard and that meant a contract reflecting his value to the franchise.

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  • Darius Leonard stats: 132 combined tackles, seven pass deflections, seven tackles for loss, three forced fumbles

Every detail of the contract sets the market for top inside linebackers moving forward. The total value ($99.25 million), guaranteed money ($52.5 million) and the average annual salary are the highest marks at the position.

A first-team All-Pro selection in 2018 and ’20, Leonard has turned into one of the greatest finds from his draft class. The Colts found his talent out of South Carolina State and the 6-foot-2 linebacker is now one of the best defensive players in the NFL.