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Projecting Darius Butler’s Next Contract

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NFL: Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports

Darius Butler, the versatile defensive back, has a contract that’s expiring and the Colts have a tough decision to make. Josh Wilson recently wrote a piece discussing the possibility of re-signing Butler, and the fans overwhelming supported the idea of bringing him back. Butler has spent the past few seasons as both an outside cornerback and nickel corner. After this past season, Butler said he’s ready to make a full-time transition to safety.

Butler signed a 2 year, $5,000,000 deal with $1,000,000 (20%) guaranteed in 2015. What has he done in the last two seasons? In the last two seasons, Butler has played in 26 games and started in 9 of them. He also has 4 interceptions and 83 combined tackles. He plays the vast majority of the snaps on defense, and played mostly as a nickel corner over the past two years. He did play a lot of snaps as a cornerback due to injuries, but wasn’t as effective. He’s at his best in zone coverage against slot receivers. He does a great job in coverage and was the 18th best cornerback in coverage last season, according to Pro Football Focus.

Butler could be a very important player to have in the next few seasons. Mike Adams’ future is up in the air and Clayton Geathers may be switching to linebacker. If Adams is not re-signed and Geathers moves to linebacker, the Colts would have a big hole to fill at safety. Re-signing Butler may be a top priority if those two scenarios play out.

Comparable Players

Captain Munnerlyn — 3 years, $11,250,000 w/ $4,450,000 (39.55%) Guaranteed (Signed in March 2014)

Adjusted for Inflation: 3 years, $13,950,000 w/ $5,500,000 Guaranteed

William Gay — 3 years, $7,500,000 w/ $1,900,000 (25.33%) Guaranteed (Signed in March 2016)

Adjusted for Inflation: 3 years, $7,950,000 w/ $2,000,000 Guaranteed

Jamar Taylor — 3 years, $15,000,000 w/ $5,500,000 (36.67%) Guaranteed (Signed in December 2016)

No Inflation Adjustment Needed

Tracy Porter — 3 years, $12,000,000 w/ $4,250,000 (35.42%) Guaranteed (Signed in March 2016)

Adjusted for Inflation: 3 years, $12,700,000 w/ $4,500,000 Guaranteed

All 4 players are versatile defensive backs who have extensive experience playing in the nickel corner spot. Even if Butler wants to make the switch to safety, he should not be signed or asked to be signed as a safety since it could actually work against him in negotiations. He’s unknown as a safety, so asking to be signed as one could lead to the general manager signing him as if he were an unknown commodity, which means Butler would mostly sign a short-term bridge deal.

Contract Projection

3 years, $11,400,000 w/ $3,700,000 (32.45%) Guaranteed

Average Per Year: $3,800,000

This contract would make him the:

  • 65th highest paid defensive back (tied with Orlando Scandrick)
  • 36th highest paid cornerback

Previous Predictions:

Andrew Luck 2016

Prediction: 5 Years, $117.5M with $72.5M Guaranteed

Actual: 5 Years, $122.97M with $87M Guaranteed

TY Hilton 2015

Prediction: 5 Years, $57.5M with $23M Guaranteed

Actual: 5 Years, $65M with $28M Guaranteed

Jack Doyle 2017

Prediction: 3 years, 10.8M with 5.13M Guaranteed

Actual: TBA