The Colts have plenty of cap space to work with, but a number of holes to fill on their roster. They took a step towards keeping part of their defense intact today, however. The team is re-signing linebacker Zaire Franklin on a three-year, $12MM deal (Twitter link via PFF’s Doug Kyed). The contract includes $4MM in guaranteed money.
Franklin, 25, was drafted in the seventh round by the Colts in 2018. He made it onto the roster right away, establishing himself as a core special teamer. His role in the third phase has grown since then, as he has played 80% of ST snaps in the past three campaigns.
Defensively, the Syracuse product took on a bigger workload in 2021. He played a career-high 200 defensive snaps, and started 11 of the 17 games in appeared in. He totalled 4o tackles, one interception and two pass breakups. Seen as an ascending talent, he was in line for a healthy raise compared to the earnings from his rookie contract.
With a value of $4MM per year on average, Franklin will rank second on the team in terms of annual compensation amongst the team’s linebackers, behind only Darius Leonard. With the likes of Bobby Okereke and Malik Jefferson facing free agency next year, having Franklin under contract for the medium-term future is significant for the team.