All offseason, the Colts have expressed a desire to sign linebacker Darius Leonard and right tackle Braden Smith to long-term deals. They now have 51 days to get that done before the season opener.
“We don’t have anything to report right now, but we’d like to see both of those players get extensions before the season starts,” owner Jim Irsay said Thursday, via Joel Erickson of the Indianapolis Star.
Offensive guard Quenton Nelson, another member of the team’s prized 2018 draft class, has two years remaining on his deal because of the fifth-year option given to first-round draft picks. But the Colts want to sign Nelson to a long-term deal sooner than later, too.
“We’re working on it, and I think any time you deal with extensions — I’ve been dealing with them for decades — it takes two to tango, and there’s a compromising aspect,” Irsay said. “You sign early and get protection against injury, that guarantee, that sort of peace of mind, and the team gets consideration of doing it early.”
The Colts have blueprints for deals for Smith and Leonard. The 49ers signed linebacker Fred Warner to a five-year extension this week worth $95.225 million over the life of the deal, the biggest ever given to an off-the-ball linebacker. Carolina right tackle Taylor Moton last week came to agreement on a four-year extension that will pay him $18 million a season, while New Orleans right tackle Ryan Ramczyk became the highest-paid at the position last month with a $19.51 million average value.
“We always give great deals to our players,” Irsay said. “It’s been that way going back 20 years. Extensions we’ve signed, and the players we’ve extended into second contracts is a long list, and they’ve always been done fairly, and tried to look at it from their point of view.”