Zaire Franklin officially has back-to-back record-setting seasons for the Colts

One year after setting a franchise record for the Indianapolis Colts, linebacker Zaire Franklin has set another record for the team.
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts
Pittsburgh Steelers v Indianapolis Colts / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

Last season, Zaire Franklin broke out in a big way for the Indianapolis Colts. After years as a special teams leader and depth linebacker, Franklin filled in for an injured Shaquille Leonard and had an elite season. Playing in all 17 games, Franklin finished fourth in the league with 167 tackles. That number was a franchise record, breaking Shaq Leonard’s previous record of 163.

Entering this season, Franklin wasn’t going to catch anyone off guard; a standard had been set. Still, he has found a way to exceed expectations, even with them being raised. Having another great season, Franklin has already broken his own franchise record for tackles in a season.

Playing in just 15 games this season, Franklin already has an NFL-leading 170 total tackles. With one game remaining, Franklin is going to shatter his previous record, while setting a pretty steep number for him to chase next season.

Zaire Franklin sets new franchise record for tackles in a season

Franklin has been a gem his entire career. He has been exceeding expectations in the NFL since he entered the league in 2018 as a seventh-round pick. Even before emerging as a starting linebacker, the Colts made sure to re-sign Franklin because of his value to the team as a leader, special teams player, and depth piece. Now, Franklin is a star.

Because of his late emergence, Franklin probably has the best bargain contract of any veteran in the league. During the 2022 offseason, Indianapolis re-signed him to a three-year deal worth $10 million. Franklin responded with two record-setting seasons at linebacker, significantly outplaying the deal. With one season remaining on the contract after this year, it’ll be interesting to see if he and the Colts can workout some sort of extension that ties him to Indy for several more years, but also rewards him for the last two seasons. Franklin has certainly earned it.