The Indianapolis Colts announced tonight that they re-signed their nickel cornerback in Darius Butler. Since being signed in the 2012 season, Butler has been one of the most valuable members of the Colts secondary. Based on initial reports, it look as though it was a very reasonable and team-friendly new deal:
Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Indianapolis Colts cornerback Darius Butler (20) reacts against the Denver Broncos in the 2014 AFC Divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
As a former 2nd round pick of the New England Patriots in 2009, Butler has seemingly found a home in Indianapolis and is one of the best 3rd cornerbacks in the game. The 7-year veteran will rejoin starting cornerbacks Vontae Davis and Greg Toler to form a very formidable trio of cornerbacks for the Colts.
The 6-year pro has appeared in 41 games for the Colts over the past 3 seasons, making 15 starts. While Mike Adams has drawn the majority of the headlines as far as free agency retention for the Colts, Butler is an incredibly valuable member of the secondary himself.
As testament, according to ProFootballFocus (subscription), Butler’s 79.0 allowed passer rating to opposing quarterbacks in slot coverage was the 11th best overall in the NFL. His 81.6 allowed quarterback rating in all coverage ranked 40th overall, which while doesn’t look too great at first glance, is just one spot below behind Patriots shutdown cornerback Darrelle Revis, who had an allowed quarterback rating of 81.4.
In the passing league that is today’s NFL, not only can a team not have enough pass rusher, but it also doesn’t hurt to have a good number of competent cornerbacks. Butler may not be a shutdown cornerback, but he’s a very solid 3rd cornerback and a team could do much worse all things considered.
Still only 28 years old, Butler figures to have a handful of productive seasons still left in him. It looks as though those years will be spent with the Colts for the foreseeable future. The Colts cornerback position is now solidified with the aforementioned trio of quality cornerbacks, but there’s still a lot of work to do with the rest of the defensive unit.
Some of his teammates were already excited about the Colts bringing back Butler:
Even Darius himself was glad to be back: