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Colts’ Darius Leonard reacts to Fred Warner’s record 49ers extension that he’s about to surpass

Darius Leonard, Colts, Fred Warner, 49ers

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Fred Warner agreed to a five-year, $95 million extension (over $40 million guaranteed) on Wednesday, with that $19 million annual number making him the highest-paid inside linebacker in NFL history. That record isn’t expected to last long, though, with Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard lurking with his own massive contract agreement ahead.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting that Leonard is expected to get a four-year deal north of $19 million per season. The Colts star surely knew that when he tweeted his congratulations at Warner:

Whatever Leonard ends up getting, both of these players are certainly deserving of these massive contracts. Warner made his first Pro Bowl in Year 3 and also made First-Team All-Pro. At just 24 years old, he should be a centerpiece of the 49ers’ defense for years to come. San Francisco has had one of the stingier defenses in the NFL in recent seasons.

The same could be said for the Colts, who finished second in rushing yards allowed in 2020 en route to an 11-5 record. Leonard also is heading into Year 4, and he has already built himself quite a resume. He made First-Team All-Pro as a rookie by leading the NFL with 163 combined tackles and 111 solo tackles, and he also racked up seven sacks. Shockingly enough, he didn’t make the Pro Bowl that season.

Leonard has made the last two Pro Bowls, though, and he made First-Team All-Pro again this past season. In addition to racking up 121 combined tackles in 2019, he had five sacks and five interceptions. Last season, he finished with 132 combined tackles and three sacks.

The Colts linebacker is an absolute monster in the middle of that defense, and he’s about to be paid handsomely for his services. Like Warner, the 25-year-old should be a centerpiece of his team’s defense for a long time.