Darius Leonard and Indianapolis Colts agree five-year, $99.25m extension to make him NFL's highest paid inside linebacker
Darius Leonard and the Indianapolis Colts have agreed to a new five-year extension that will see the 26-year-old become the highest-paid inside linebacker in the NFL; Leonard has become a crucial piece of the Colts' defence since entering the league in 2018
Last Updated: 08/08/21 6:05pm
Darius Leonard and the Indianapolis Colts have agreed to a five-year, $99.25m extension that makes him the highest paid inside linebacker in the NFL.
The 26-year-old's new deal includes $52.5m in guaranteed money and will see him paid $20m per year over the first three years of his contract, as reported by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.
An All-Pro in his first three seasons in the league, Leonard was named as a first-team selection in both 2018 and 2020.
Drafted 36th overall three years ago, Leonard has emerged as a shut down run option at the heart of the Colts' defence and has averaged 9.9 tackles per game across his career.
He led the league in tackles during his 2018 rookie season and helped Indianapolis finish in the top 10 of scoring defence in 2018 and 2020, as well as finishing in the top 10 of rushing yards allowed per game.
The Colts have made tying down their key players to new contracts an off-season priority, after securing right tackle Braden Smith to a new long-term $72.4m extension in July.
Seven German cities including Munich have registered an interest in becoming a host partner for the NFL amid the league's plans to expand its international operation to mainland Europe, Sky Sports understands.
In June the league officially launched its search for a feasible location in which to stage regular season matchups in Germany as it looks to tap into a growing European market and further build on the 28 games that have been played in London since 2007.
London-based The Sports Consultancy is currently assisting the NFL in engaging with German cities to understand how "strategic partnerships for potential games in 2022-2025 could be structured".
"At this stage in the process, we have received expressions of interest from seven German cities," director of consulting Matt Wilson told Sky Sports. "We are now working with each city to support them in establishing their bidding consortium, developing their partnership model and exploring operational feasibility.
"We expect to receive indicative proposals at the start of September, which will allow the NFL to shortlist candidate hosts with a view to identifying the preferred partner for potential games in Germany early in 2022."