INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Any thoughts Margus Hunt might have had regarding testing his worth on the NFL’s open market quickly evaporated when the Indianapolis Colts made it clear how they valued their veteran defensive lineman.
The verification: a reported two-year, $9 million contract extension that could be worth as much as $10 million if incentives are achieved. When the Colts initially signed Hunt as a free agent in 2017, it was for a two-year, $4.1 million deal.
“If that kind of offer comes up before free agency, they clearly were trying to keep me here,’’ Hunt said Tuesday afternoon. “The offer that was put in place sounded great.
“I didn’t want to leave this kind of locker room behind and where it’s headed.’’
Hunt, 31, was one of more than a dozen Colts whose contracts were set to expire March 13, making them unrestricted free agents. General manager Chris Ballard previous has worked extensions for placekicker Adam Vinatieri, guard Mark Glowinski and tight end Ross Travis.
And now, Margus Hunt, who has developed into an integral part of the defensive line.
“I was really hoping this contract would happen sooner rather than later,’’ he said. “It wasn’t really a hard decision to where I was wondering whether or not I was going to play out the market or not.
“I knew that if the opportunity arises for me to be back here in this kind of environment and with this team and these guys, it’s a no-brainer.’’
Hunt’s career has taken off since his relocation from Cincinnati to Indy in 2017.
With the Bengals, the 2013 second-round draft primarily was a special teams contributor. He appeared in 44 games, all off the bench, and totaled 25 tackles, 1.5 sacks and four tackles for loss.
Hunt’s two-year bottom line with the Colts: 31 games, including 20 starts, 6 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. He enjoyed a career year last season with 30 tackles, 5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss, all while dealing with a knee injury and other issues as the season unfolded.
His ability to play end and tackle has been invaluable.
“It worked out for the best,’’ Hunt said. “That was my goal going into OTAs and training camp that I can be a player that can be put in any kind of situation and thrive in it. Thankfully with this defensive system I was able to do that.
“It just so happened to where I was able to get the coaches’ trust for them to be able to put me out there anywhere and know that I can do the job that is required.’’