The team announced a contract extension Sunday for the sixth-year pro just two days before Butler could have become a free agent. The decision keeps the Colts’ core of cornerbacks together in Butler, Vontae Davis and Greg Toler.
Terms of the deal were not announced, but NFL Network’s Albert Breer tweeted: “Colts CB Darius Butler got a 2-year, $5 million deal -- $1M to sign, $1.5M base this year, $2.5M base next year.”
Butler counted $3 million against the Colts’ 2014 salary cap.
Butler tweeted a picture of the Colts cornerbacks getting ready for a game with the message: “Time To Finish What We Started! #Deuce0 #BackInBlue.”
Immediate reactions included a teammate tweet from Davis: “Excited for @DariusJButler, our secondary, and #ColtsNation! Let's goooo! #NoFlyZone.”
The Colts ranked 12th in pass defense at 229.3 yards allowed per game. Opposing quarterbacks completed 58.9 percent of their passes, which ranked the Colts sixth-best in the league.
In the past three seasons with the Colts, Butler made 129 total tackles, including 107 solos, with 30 passes defended, eight interceptions and returning three of those for touchdowns, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries in 41 games, 15 of them starts.
He’s also had 18 tackles, 15 solos, and three passes defended in six playoff games, including two starts.
Butler was coveted because he excels in man-to-man press coverage, which the Colts require from cornerbacks in their 3-4 defensive scheme.
During 2012 and 2013, Butler led all AFC cornerbacks with eight interceptions, a team-high four each year. Last season, he played 14 games, four of them starts, with 47 total tackles, 41 solos, eight passes defended, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. He appeared in all three playoff games, including one start, and made five tackles, had one pass defended and one forced fumble.
Butler was originally a second-round pick (41st overall) by New England in 2009. He played two seasons for the Patriots, then one season in Carolina in 2011.
In six NFL seasons combined, he’s made 219 total tackles, 188 of them solos, 51 passes defended, 11 interceptions, four interception returns for touchdowns, four fumble recoveries and three forced fumbles in 83 games, 29 of them starts.
Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.