The Indianapolis Colts took their first step toward ensuring the future of their tight end spot Friday afternoon with an investment in one of their best at the position.
The Colts signed veteran Jack Doyle to a three-year contract extension in a deal announced Friday that resolves his impending free agency for the 2020 season. The seventh-year tight end has been a regular starter since the 2016 season, despite missing most of 2018 with an injury, and a core piece of the offense both on the field and in the locker room.
The contract is reportedly worth a little more than $21 million that has the potential to climb to nearly $24 million with incentives, according to The Indianapolis Star.
Doyle has made a reputation in the NFL as one of its best blocking tight ends while also providing a stable presence in the passing game, where he has gained 377 yards and scored four touchdowns through 12 starts this season. He is just two seasons removed from his first Pro Bowl selection in 2017 after making 80 catches, four in the end zone, for 690 yards.
While the Colts have locked down Doyle early, they will also have to address the status of their other effective tight end — Eric Ebron — with him slated to become an unrestricted free agent next season when his two-year, $13 million deal expires. He has supplied significantly more production as a receiver than Doyle but was just recently placed on the injured reserve with injuries to both ankles, which will each require surgery.
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From Undrafted Free Agent to Another Multi-Million Deal
The Colts saw something in Doyle way back in 2013 when he quietly entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Western Kentucky. The Tennessee Titans had inked him to a three-year, $1.49 million contract about a month after the draft, but he was released after not making the 53-man roster cuts.
The Titans had intended to keep Doyle around as their No. 4 tight end on the practice squad if he cleared the waivers, but the Colts snatched the Indianapolis native up from their divisional rivals in the AFC South and have happily held onto him ever since — something they will now continue to do through the 2022 season.
Doyle wasn’t able to slide into a major role right away as he jumped aboard during Dwayne Allen’s final years with the Colts. But once he broke onto the scene, Doyle became all the rage as one of the sneakiest weapons in the passing arsenal. He amassed 1,274 yards and nine touchdowns during his first two seasons as a full-time starter.
The Colts awarded him with what had been his current three-year, $18.9 contract ahead of the 2017 season, trading away Allen to the New England Patriots and setting up Doyle for his first career Pro Bowl season as a replacement for Rob Gronkowski.
Now, the Colts are again rewarding his efforts after he worked back from a season-ending kidney injury in 2018 and hasn’t missed a game in a season marred with departures and injuries.