The Indianapolis Colts this morning announced that they have re-signed safety Darius Butler. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, it’s a one-year deal for $3 million but that’s worth up to $4.5 million with incentives.
That’s a really good move for Indianapolis, who reportedly were interested in bringing Butler back all along. Butler tested the free agent market, however, and visited the Bears and the Redskins before ultimately re-signing with the Colts. He becomes the third player to re-sign with the Colts this offseason, joining Jack Doyle and Robert Turbin.
Butler will move to safety with the Colts, and the team described him as such when announcing the move. He began the shift to safety last season and more than held his own there, and after the season he said that’s where he wants to play full-time now. It seems like that will indeed be the case in Indianapolis, but Butler’s versatility will also be valuable. Over the past five years he’s been a very good nickel cornerback in the slot for the Colts, and so even if he’s a safety now he has the versatility to be able to help at corner if need be.
This is Butler’s third new contract since originally signing with the Colts in 2012, and he has proven to be a good player for them over the past five years. He has played in 67 games with the Colts and started 24 while recording 241 tackles, 41 passes defensed, 12 interceptions (three returned for touchdowns, and six forced fumbles. Last year, seeing time at both corner and safety, Butler played in 12 games and started seven of them, recording 33 tackles, seven passes defensed, three interceptions, and a forced fumble. He led the team in interceptions and was second in passes defensed.
As far as the roster currently stands at the safety position, Butler will likely start alongside Clayton Geathers. T.J. Green will be entering his second year and should see some significant playing time too, so we could see Butler and Green share that role a bit. It’s also likely that we’ll see the Colts play Geathers in the box some like they did last year, which would mean that Butler and Green could be the safeties in that situation. Regardless of what Butler’s role winds up being, he’s a valuable defensive back to have around because of his versatility, he’s a veteran presence in the locker room, he’s a good player, he addresses an area of need, and he’s signing a very reasonable contract. There’s not really much at all to dislike about this move for the Colts.