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Colts stars talk about new contracts, future of team

The Colts have re-signed Michael Pittman Jr. to a three-year, $70 million contract starting with the 2024 season. (WISH Photo/Angela Moryan)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indianapolis Colts like what they have already in the building.

That’s evident given that General Manager Chris Ballard and crew secured six longtime Colts — five of whom were free agents — for even-longer tenures in Indianapolis.

From receiver Michael Pittman Jr. getting $70 million to stay him in Indy for the next three years, to extending linebacker Zaire Franklin’s contract a year early, Ballard was clearly confident in the pieces he already has in his stable.

Those pieces were equally excited to stay with a team they’ve given so many years to already.

“I think that every player’s dream is to stay with the same team their whole time playing,” Pittman said Wednesday. “When I think back, all of my greatest moments have been here. I got married here. I had both of my kids here. I bought my first house here. I just have a lot of major life moments just tied here, and I’m just so grateful that I can call this place home.”

Pittman knew from the beginning that the Colts would use the franchise tag on him this offseason. He also knew that it was just a part of the process. Ultimately, Ballard and the Colts didn’t even give him a chance to test the free agency waters outside of Indy. The $70 million contract (with $46 million guaranteed) keeps Pittman with quarterback Anthony Richardson for the next three years, with the hopes of building something special.

“I think we’ve got everything we need,” Pittman said. “With Richardson coming back, we get a guy for two years straight, and we’re really going to see what he can do and all of his talent. I’m just looking forward to accenting him, making him the best player he can be and him making me the best player I can be.”

Franklin’s contact extension wasn’t a surprise either. A new deal had been in conversation since November, according to Franklin. After breaking the franchise single-season tackle record two years in a row, Franklin thought this extension was a long time coming.

“Now I just feel like I’m getting paid for the job I’ve already been doing,” Franklin said. “I’ve truly loved my time here in Indy. It’s been home for me. Being a Colt is something I take with pride, and I’m glad to wear it on my sleeve. … Now we just got to continue to raise that level, continue to push forward.”

Ballard might be handing out bags of cash to his most trusted vets in the locker room, but now it’s time to turn that into championships.

“At this point now, accolades aside, money aside, it’s time for us to put some banner up,” Franklin said. “It’s time for us to accomplish something. We’ve got to leave here with something other than good memories.”

Cornerback Kenny Moore II echoed that sentiment. Moore just signed another three-year contract with the team that he’s played his entire career with. The deal made him, once again, the highest-paid nickelback in the league. That sets him up to be in Indy for a full 10 years in the NFL.

“To play 10 years in the league is amazing and to do 10 years with one team will just be another stripe on the jacket. We’re not there yet,” Moore said. “I’m going on Year 8, so we want to make Year 8 the best year yet.”

The Colts also re-signed defensive end Tyquan Lewis, defensive tackle Grover Stewart and punter Rigoberto Sanchez, keeping a core group of players for the next few years.