Colts re-sign cornerback Pierre Desir with 3-year, $25 million contract


INDIANAPOLIS, IN – NOVEMBER 12: Pierre Desir #35 of the Indianapolis Colts celebrates with Nate Hairston #27 against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Lucas Oil Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Another valuable component to the Indianapolis Colts’ future plans is staying put, which is in keeping with the long-term blueprint.

The team has re-signed Pierre Desir to a three-year contract that reportedly is worth a maximum of $25 million and includes $12 million in guarantees. The veteran cornerback was poised to become a restricted free agent at 4 o’clock Wednesday.

Retaining his own – rewarding them – always is general manager Chris Ballard’s main priority.

“First the player, we gotta want each other,’’ he said. “He’s gotta want to be here and we gotta be willing to pay the amount he wants. And then he’s gotta fit the locker room.

“Eventually what you’d like to happen is you’re paying your own guys, you’re rewarding the guys in the locker room who have done the right things for you.’’

Desir had the past two days to test his value on the open market before deciding to remain in Indy. It was reported the New York Jets and New York Giants were among teams that had shown some level of interest.

The deal also reaffirms Desir’s decision to bet on himself. Prior to getting his big deal Wednesday, he had career earnings of $4.395 million.

The Colts claimed Desir off waivers from Seattle in September 2017 and he signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract as an unrestricted free agent last offseason in what amounted to a prove-it year.

Prove it is precisely what he did.

Desir, 28, started 12 of 16 games and established himself as a top-tier cornerback with 79 tackles, one interception and eight  and emerged as a top-tier cornerback in 2018.

Desir was at his best in a pair of late-season games at Houston when he helped neutralize DeAndre Hopkins, the Texans’ standout receiver. In the Colts’ win in December and their first-round playoff victory, Hopkins was limited to 9 catches and 73 yards on 20 targets. Desir often was the primary cover corner.

His journey to the life-altering contract has been a long one: standout at Lindenwood; fourth-round pick by Cleveland in 2014 and waived by Browns in 2016; claimed by Chargers and waived one month later; re-signed by Chargers and wavied again; signed by Seattle as a free agent in 2017; waived by Seahawks in September 2017 and claimed by the Colts.

Retaining Desir is the latest personnel decision by Balllard aimed at keeping key players. The team previously re-signed, among others, placekicker Adam Vinatieri, guard Mark Glowinski and defensive lineman Margus Hunt to extensions. Players retained through one-year restricted tenders include wideout Chester Rogers, safety Matthias Farley and center Evan Boehm.

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51

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