Many of the league’s elite, young linebackers, specifically those who were drafted in 2018, have started to cash in over the last few weeks. With that in mind, it’s only a matter of time before Colts’ All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard gets a much-deserved contract extension himself.
Back in June, the Miami Dolphins gave their star linebacker, Jerome Baker, a 3-year deal worth around $39 million.
On Wednesday afternoon, the San Francisco 49ers extended their own star linebacker, signing Fred Warner, a former third-round pick, to a 5-year, $95 million extension with $40.5 being fully guaranteed.
For Baker and Warner, both of whom have been nothing short of exceptional since entering the league, these extensions were a longtime coming and neither franchise were going to let either linebacker walk out the door without a contract extension.
The same can be said for Darius Leonard. Shortly after Warner’s extension, ESPNs Adam Schefter reported that Leonard would be next in line for a new deal in the near future.
Schefter tweeted, “Next linebacker up for a new deal is Indianapolis’ Darius Leonard, a contract that is expected to be a four-year deal for north of $19 million per year.”
Next linebacker up for a new deal is Indianapolis’ Darius Leonard, a contract is that is expected to be a four-year deal for north of $19 million per year, per sources.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) July 21, 2021
For comparison sake, Colts reporter Mike Chappell tweeted out Warner’s stats compared to Leonard’s throughout each of their first three seasons, tweeting “Darius Leonard/Fred Warner. Take your pick.”
Darius Leonard/Fred Warner. Take your pick— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) July 21, 2021
42 gms 48 gms
416 tackles 367 tackles
268 solos 253 solos
26 TFL 15 TFL
15 sacks 4 sacks
7 INTs 3 INTs
9 FF 3 FF
2 All-Pro 1 All-Pro pic.twitter.com/BduGEBgS1T
Leonard has the edge over Warner in the following areas: tackles (416 to 367), solo tackles (268 to 253), TFLs (26 to 15), sacks (15 to 4), INTs (7 to 3), FF (9 to 3), and All-Pro selections (2 to 1). Some would say it’s a coin flip in terms of who you’d take to lead your defense, but Leonard, statistically speaking, has Warner beat in every category expect for total games played.
Just by crunching the numbers Schefter used in his report, given the $19/year basis, Leonard will likely get an extension around $76-$80 million total. Who knows, though, the 2x All-Pro could very well get much more than that. But an extension is on the horizon.
Leonard is a Cornerstone of the Colts’ franchise. He’s been a game-changer from Day 1, and whatever the extension looks like compensation-wise for the former second-round pick, he’s worth every single penny.