When the Indianapolis Colts re-signed Zaire Franklin to a three-year contract worth $10 million during the 2022 offseason, everyone thought: great, Indy gets to keep a locker room leader that plays an important role on special teams and is a nice depth piece. No one saw coming what actually happened after re-signing Franklin.
While playing on his second contract with the team, Zaire Franklin established himself as one of the league’s best linebackers. In 2022, the first year of the deal, Franklin filled in for an injured Shaquille Leonard. In 17 games, he set a franchise record with 167 tackles, and also added 12 tackles for a loss, three sacks, and two forced fumbles. A season later, in 2023, Franklin played in just 16 games, but still managed to break his own record, recording 179 tackles, three for a loss, 1.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles.
Now, undoubtedly the leader of the team, Franklin is preparing for another season as Indy’s top linebacker. With one year remaining on his deal, he has been advocating for his teammates like Kenny Moore II to get re-signed. However, with just one year worth $3.39 million left on Franklin’s contract, it’s fair to ask if he’ll start advocating for a new deal for himself.
Should Colts extend Zaire Franklin?
There’s no question that Franklin has outplayed his contract. He probably has the best bargain deal of any veteran in the league. What Franklin has offered the Colts the last two seasons is certainly worth more than roughly $3 million a year. He deserves a contract that will reward him for the last two seasons and also secure his future in Indianapolis.
Unfortunately, Indy already has a lot on its plate. In addition to Kenny Moore II, guys like Michael Pittman Jr., Julian Blackmon, Grover Stewart, Gardner Minshew, Zack Moss, and Rigoberto Sanchez are set to be free agents this offseason. As much as Zaire Franklin deserves a new deal, the Colts may tell him to get in line.