The time has come for the top 2018 NFL Draft picks to start signing contract extensions as they begin entering the final years of their rookie deals. For example, Fred Warner of the San Francisco 49ers just signed a massive five-year extension that made him the highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL.
Darius Leonard could be the next defensive playmaker to finalize negotiations. In fact, Warner's deal may have just set the bar for what the Indianapolis Colts will have to pay in order to keep the two-time All-Pro on their side of the field.
Darius Leonard Extension
Warner's contract extension is worth $95 million and includes $40.5 million in guarantees. His annual average salary of $19 million passed over Bobby Wagner's top mark of $18 million. That means that it is not out of the realm of possibilities for Leonard to be paid upwards of $20 million a year.
After all, he has been the leader of this Colts' defense since the moment he joined them. The two-time Pro Bowler has racked up 416 tackles, 15.0 sacks, 22 pass breakups, 7 interceptions and 9 forced fumbles across 42 games played. Simply put, Leonard is a force to be reckoned with.
The Colts have made it a priority to shore up their top defensive players in the past and it wouldn't be surprising to see them focus on locking Leonard down sooner rather than later. Indianapolis will be looking to improve on their average of 22.9 points allowed per game last season.
This is a situation worth keeping an eye on as NFL training camps start to get underway. For now, the Colts have odds set at +110 to win the AFC south division and odds set at +2500 to win the Super Bowl, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
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Larry Rupp is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Larry Rupp also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username phillyfan424. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.