Colts To Re-Sign S Julian Blackmon

8:55pm: Blackmon’s one-year deal is worth up to $7.7MM, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. The one-year pact features $3.2MM in guaranteed money.

4:00pm: Another Colts defensive starter is staying. An Indianapolis offseason filled with re-signings will now include a Julian Blackmon re-up. The four-year starter is coming back, per Bleacher Report’s Jordan Schultz.

Blackmon landed on the Bills and 49ers’ radars, but the Colts resumed negotiations with the talented safety recently. That will lead to Blackmon joining a host of Colts free agents who have agreed to stay put. Blackmon is sticking around on a one-year deal. One of the others to re-sign, Kenny Moore offered some news-breaking chops regarding the Blackmon development.

The Colts have now reached agreements to retain Moore, Blackmon, Grover Stewart, Tyquan Lewis and Zaire Franklin this offseason. These moves came after Indianapolis extended Michael Pittman Jr. after franchise-tagging its top wide receiver. The Blackmon news continues a massive retention effort for GM Chris Ballard, who has regularly signed homegrown players to second (and now third, in some cases) contracts.

The Bills and 49ers did make offers, Schultz adds, but this has not been the best market for non-Xavier McKinney safeties. The Packers’ $17MM-AAV McKinney pact became an earlier outlier, with no other safety signing for more than $7.5MM per year this offseason. This resembles what went down last year, with Jessie Bates signing the only big-ticket contract among free agents. Kamren Curl needed to accept a two-year, $9MM Rams deal. Blackmon, who joined Curl as part of PFR’s top 50 free agents list, will also attempt to reestablish his value on what will likely be a modest agreement.

In the days leading up to free agency, however, the safety market expanded thanks to the Broncos and Seahawks’ transactions. Justin Simmons, Jamal Adams and Quandre Diggs remain on the market. They join Eddie Jackson and Marcus Maye at a position that presented a running back-like landscape — though, with a higher top end — over the past two years.

The safety market crashing represents good news for the Colts, who will keep another of their Gus Bradley charges in the fold. Blackmon, 25, delivered his best season in 2023. The former second-round pick intercepted four passes, broke up eight more and recovered two fumbles in a solid contract year. He and Moore will continue to anchor Indy’s secondary, which still could use upgrades at outside cornerback.

Blackmon visited the Bills and 49ers last month, but the Utah alum will attempt to execute a quality “prove it” year in familiar surroundings. Playing in the slot, around the line of scrimmage and as a deep safety under Bradley, Blackmon made a career-high 88 tackles in 2023. Blackmon came back from a 2021 Achilles tear in 2022; he moved well past that injury last season. Pro Football Focus had never rated Blackmon as a top-50 safety prior to last season; the advanced metrics site slotted him 38th at the position in 2023.

It is certainly worth questioning if the Colts’ strategy to retain this many pieces from a defense that ranked 28th (24th in yards allowed) is wise, but the team has gone through with an all-out retention effort. Counting the Pittman contract, Indianapolis has shelled out more than $200MM in re-signings this offseason.

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