It was a big birthday for Darius Leonard yesterday, as the Colts second-year linebacker celebrated his 23rd birthday. To mark the occasion, his Instagram account was filled with pictures and videos of gifts and birthday cake, including one where he describes a huge gift box as “the best gift I could get.”
There’s nothing quite like being the number one overall pick in the draft. The pressure is on. Your first contract is massive even if its just for four years. The expectations are there. So, when it comes to making your case to become the next great NFL player, what you do with your first contract is vital.
The Indianapolis Colts are still in the process of deciding on the team’s new head coach, but it appears the front office is already locked onto one draft pick as a franchise-changing talent. According to the Indianapolis Star, General Manager Chris Ballard said that All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard is expected to receive a contract extension after the 2018 season.
The Indianapolis Colts boast one of the best defenses in the NFL, and inside linebacker Darius Leonard is at the core of it.
Leonard was chosen with the 36th overall selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, and the Colts have since seen him develop into one of the greatest linebackers in the game. Leonard was awarded Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2018 and has continued to demonstrate his domination on the defensive line.
Colts general manager Chris Ballard has made a point of overhauling the team’s defense at the first and second levels, and with Leonard’s contract up for renewal, he’ll likely do whatever it takes to retain Leonard in Indianapolis for the long haul. Indy’s immediate success may be determined by quarterback Carson Wentz, but Leonard and the rest of the defensive team are equally important.
It’s just a matter of time until The Maniac inks a multi-million dollar deal.
The Indianapolis Colts are in the process of extending Darius Leonard’s contract
The Colts are working on extending Leonard’s contract, according to Ballard. Indy is in a strong position to give Leonard and right tackle Braden Smith, a key component on the offensive line, hefty contracts. According to Over The Cap, the Colts are expected to have the most cap space in 2023 and the fifth-most cap space in 2023. Because of this flexibility, the team is able to make a financial commitment right now.
According to Jim Ayello of the Indianapolis Star, Ballard stated regarding the extension talks, “We’ve had a terrific back and forth.” “(Colts Director of Football Administration) Mike Bluem, as well as all of the agents we’re dealing with, have been fantastic. It alternates between two states. We’ll keep working through it since getting these early extensions isn’t usually simple. We’ll look after our people and see if we can reach an agreement.”
After handing DeForest Buckner a four-year contract last summer, the Colts have every incentive to extend Leonard. Indy’s defense ranked 10th in defensive scoring and ninth in yards allowed with Buckner wrecking havoc on the interior and Leonard filling the gaps and covering the soft zones on the second level. The Colts stifled opposition ground attacks, finishing second in the league in running yards allowed.
For a long time, Leonard has been a one-of-a-kind powerhouse. In 2018, he led the NFL with 163 total tackles (111 solo tackles), and in each of his first three seasons, he has accumulated at least 121 tackles and 3.0 sacks. In 2023, the former South Carolina State star was selected to his second All-Pro team.
In a birthday tweet, Leonard teases an extension
Year 4 at the age of 26!! I’ve been blessed in so many ways that I’ll be eternally grateful! Let’s get this party started, baby! If……, this birthday would be one to remember. https://t.co/km6bbwtvmH
Darius Leonard (@dsleon45) (@dsleon45) (@dsleon45) (@dsleon 27th of July, 2023
On Tuesday, Leonard celebrated his 26th birthday by mentioning his contract negotiations with the Indianapolis Colts.
Leonard captioned a photo of himself arriving to Colts training camp with the words “fortunate.” With a smiling emoji at the conclusion, he added, “This birthday would be one to remember if…….”
Leonard is having a good time with Colts supporters. He’s certainly aware that his extension negotiations are getting a lot of attention, and he’d want to sign a huge contract to start the next year of his life off well.
Granted, Leonard is unlikely to accept a pay cut to remain in Indianapolis, especially following the contract extension given to linebacker Fred Warner by the San Francisco 49ers.
Leonard has a chance to become the NFL’s highest-paid linebacker
Darius Leonard, a linebacker with the Indianapolis Colts, may be released this summer | Justin Casterline/Getty Images
Warner has the greatest total value and average annual value (AAV) of any linebacker in the NFL after signing a $95 million contract with the Niners. In terms of AAV, Leonard has a chance to surpass Warner.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Leonard is likely to sign a four-year contract for “north of” $19 million per year. Given that Warner’s AAV can basically be rounded down to $19 million, Leonard is likely to become the highest-paid inside linebacker in the category.
The Colts are expected to complete a contract with Leonard shortly, which might be a pleasant birthday gift for Leonard.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics. Over The Cap provided contract information.
After Dan Patrick questioned Peyton Manning’s $98 million contract, the quarterback didn’t speak to him for four years.
The Indianapolis Colts have their franchise quarterback in Andrew Luck, and they have an emerging star in Darius Leonard. Now, the duo is set to become the core of the Colts defense, as the team is rumored to be finalizing a contract extension for the defensive end.. Read more about darius leonard endorsements and let us know what you think.
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