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[Rapoport] 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


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Leonard deserves it! This franchise will have one of the top 5 LB's of all time in Darius before his career is over.

Great face for our franchise!  A player that is About That Action!

 

HBCU Representing!

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This was a signing I've been eagerly awaiting.  It's not easy to find guys who can stay on the field 4 downs and make impact plays vs both run and pass.  They are rare and this guy is elite among them.  And in Leonard's case he also brings leadership which cannot be overstated in its importance to a unit.

 

Congrats 53 and looking forward to many years of you doing your thing.  

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58 minutes ago, GoColts8818 said:

Glad it’s done.  He’s the leader of the defense even if some feel his position isn’t the most important in it.

Yup. The Maniac, Q and Buckner are the heart and soul of this team. Re-signing him to a top contract is a no brainer IMO, and there will be no regrets when its all said and done. 

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3 hours ago, w87r said:

Not much to weigh in on at the moment. Need to see contract structure.

 

 

For entertainment purposes, lets speculate.

 

His current deal is 1yr $4.28m($840k guaranteed)

 

Extension 5yr $99.25m $52m guaranteed(remainder of current 2021 cap hit + 2021 bump and 22/23 fully guaranteed)

 

Lets say he gets a $5m bump in 2021

 

Leaves $94.25m to spread over those 5 years, reports say first 3 yrs $20m/per.

 

So new contract:(*guaranteed)

2021:$9.28m*

2022:$20m*

2023:$20m*

2024:$20m(partial guarantee)

2025:$17.25m

2026:$17m

 

 

Maybe something like that?

I’d like to also speculate….   If I may….  
 

I’d say those last two years,  where the salary starts to come down….  Have much lower Dead Cap Hits.   Those years would be our “out” years.   If Leonard’s play falls off for whatever reason,  the Colts will be able to get out without too much financial pain.   And looks like maybe even 2024 as well, depending on the numbers,  but certainly the last couple of seasons. 
 

So I don’t personally view this deal as a near lock that Darius will be a Colt for 5-6 more years.  But certainly 3-4.   

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5 hours ago, jskinnz said:


Did you think he was going to take one?

Nah, probably not. In any event, we don’t know what Ballard offered or what the agent demanded or whether they were close in the initial negotiations. Maybe Leonard wasn’t pushing either way and just let the agent handle it. 

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1 hour ago, Introspect said:

Leonard deserves it! This franchise will have one of the top 5 LB's of all time in Darius before his career is over.

Great face for our franchise!  A player that is About That Action!

 

HBCU Representing!

 

   Top 5 of ALL TIME ? Getting the cart WAY ahead of the horse. 

 

   The chances of that are slim and none.

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Just now, indykmj said:

 

   Top 5 of ALL TIME ? Getting the cart WAY ahead of the horse. 

 

   The chances of that are slim and none.

Ha. We will see. When it's all said and done I firmly expect Leonard to be mentioned right next to Ray Lewis and Urlacher. 

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37 minutes ago, NewColtsFan said:

I’d like to also speculate….   If I may….  
 

I’d say those last two years,  where the salary starts to come down….  Have much lower Dead Cap Hits.   Those years would be our “out” years.   If Leonard’s play falls off for whatever reason,  the Colts will be able to get out without too much financial pain.   And looks like maybe even 2024 as well, depending on the numbers,  but certainly the last couple of seasons. 
 

So I don’t personally view this deal as a near lock that Darius will be a Colt for 5-6 more years.  But certainly 3-4.   

If those numbers I posted I somewhat near, yeah I would expect little to nothing of those last 2 years being guaranteed(unless there is a SB).

 

Im sure the contract has multiple RB, since those can be paid out in chunks instead of weekly base salary checks.

 

Im sure those last 2 years have RB as well, possibly even triggering a season earlier. Who knows, I am definitely ready to see the specifics though.

 

I would imagine by 2025, it would be time to talk extension and doing some contract adjusting.?

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25 minutes ago, AustinnKaine said:

Ha. We will see. When it's all said and done I firmly expect Leonard to be mentioned right next to Ray Lewis and Urlacher. 

I think he and Nelson have potential to be Hall of Famers. Going by their 1st 3 years they would be. I am not sure Leonard will ever be as great as Ray Lewis, to me Ray is the GOAT at his LB position, LT is the GOAT at his. He could end up being just as great as Urlacher was though. Urlacher is great but probably top 10ish at his position all-time.

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I wonder if it was the Colts or players (Leonard/Smith ) that were waiting to get a deal done. 
 

Happy for both, but you have to imagine that we could have gotten them both for a little less if other deals were not completed prior this off-season. 


There were a few reports earlier in the off-season that Leonard was looking for $16-$18 million per year. 

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Very very happy for Darius. His life growing up was not easy as he has stated. He worked his butt off, proved everybody wrong and now has generational wealth. Good for him.  I do understand some people thinking he’s a tad overrated but still he makes a lot of big plays. 

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1 hour ago, 2006Coltsbestever said:

I think he and Nelson have potential to be Hall of Famers. Going by their 1st 3 years they would be. I am not sure Leonard will ever be as great as Ray Lewis, to me Ray is the GOAT at his LB position, LT is the GOAT at his. He could end up being just as great as Urlacher was though. Urlacher is great but probably top 10ish at his position all-time.

I feel like most people consider brady the GOAT. Some Montana, however they are usually mentioned in the same Conversation. Same with Marino, Unitas, Manning. He may never be better than Lewis was (they already have different play styles), but I think when its all said and done his name will be in the same conversations. 

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33 minutes ago, stitches said:

Pretty good contract set up.

$4m bump this year, and did elect to go SB so slight dead cap hit in year 5 of 6 of deal.

 

Early reports were saying first 3yrs at $20m per. This is set up much better with big year in year 5 of 6 with small dead cap. Plenty of room for negotiations on new deal at that time.

 

Can look at it 1 of 2 ways:

1. We signed him to 5yr $98.5m deal - $19.7m/per

2. He is signed for 6yrs at $102m - $17m/per

 

Either way, what a great weekend(Peyton/Edge HoF, DL extension).

 

The Leonard and Smith extensions make this offseason a major win for the organization.

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1 minute ago, AustinnKaine said:

I feel like most people consider brady the GOAT. Some Montana, however they are usually mentioned in the same Conversation. Same with Marino, Unitas, Manning. He may never be better than Lewis was (they already have different play styles), but I think when its all said and done his name will be in the same conversations. 

Yeah I love Leonard's game and effort. I am glad he will be here through his prime.

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THIS is why you don't go crazy with FA's. We have Smith, Kelly, Leonard, Weintz and Buckner on the big bucks train. Soon Nelson will climb on board. Sign your own first, then look around to fill ins.

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13 minutes ago, ColtJax said:

THIS is why you don't go crazy with FA's. We have Smith, Kelly, Leonard, Weintz and Buckner on the big bucks train. Soon Nelson will climb on board. Sign your own first, then look around to fill ins.

It is the correct approach IMO, that is why I never get upset when we don't a sign someone in Free Agency that is going to demand big money. We still managed to get Justin Houston back in 2019 despite everything and he was good here.

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9 hours ago, Pat Curtis said:

Man, that's steep for a LB.  But....he's earned it.   Next step is consistency over the years and avoiding injuries.  If he does that we'll be watching another Colt go in to the HoF.  He's the closest thing to Derrick Brooks that I've seen.

Dude he’s a good player but Brooks is likely the best coverage LB NFL history.  He’s the reason Tampa 2 works because he was essentially a pro bowl type of safety in coverage.  And brooks was totally calm.  
 

Pretty much a completely different player.

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1 hour ago, Nickster said:

Dude he’s a good player but Brooks is likely the best coverage LB NFL history.  He’s the reason Tampa 2 works because he was essentially a pro bowl type of safety in coverage.  And brooks was totally calm.  
 

Pretty much a completely different player.

I agree,   but Brooks wasn't All Pro till his 3rd season.   Darius is a 3 time all pro in 3 seasons.   We will see how his career plays out

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11 hours ago, Four2itus said:

It's been so long folks.......and now, the Colts have a STUD lb.....homegrown. So tired of watching the Steelers and Ravens draft them. This time........the Colts did it!

Well, when you spend your first round pick on a Linebacker almost every year, you're bound to hit a time or two. lol

 

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5 hours ago, Nickster said:

Dude he’s a good player but Brooks is likely the best coverage LB NFL history.  He’s the reason Tampa 2 works because he was essentially a pro bowl type of safety in coverage.  And brooks was totally calm.  
 

Pretty much a completely different player.

Ah finally a voice of reason. Couldn't have said it better myself. 20 million for a linebacker  who can't cover a tight end one on one. Over pay.

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1 hour ago, Moosejawcolt said:

Ah finally a voice of reason. Couldn't have said it better myself. 20 million for a linebacker  who can't cover a tight end one on one. Over pay.

Not really a voice of reason and I called it last night saying there is 2 people in here that will bash this deal. You 2 are the only 2 that thinks Leonard doesn't deserve this money. His primary position is about tackling and stopping the run, he plays a different position compared to Warner or what Brooks played for example who focuses on pass coverage more. This whole he stinks in Pass Coverage is bogus anyway, he had 5 INT's in 2019. Bashing Leonard would be like bashing Ray Lewis because he rarely sacked the QB, that wasn't Ray's duty. You will never get it so I am done with this, go on and bash away MooseBallard.

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