Colts Face May 4 Deadline To Decide On Malik Hooker's Fifth-Year Option

The Indianapolis Colts face a May 4 deadline to decide whether or not to pick up safety Malik Hooker’s fifth-year option for the 2021 season. Hooker, the Colts’ first-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, has played in 34 total games over three seasons, and has seven interceptions and 11 passes defensed.

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INDIANAPOLIS — With the NFL Draft now in the rear-view mirror, the Indianapolis Colts face a looming deadline for a potential move three years in the making.

The Colts have until Monday (May 4) to decide whether or not to exercise the fifth-year option for safety Malik Hooker.

By virtue of being a first-round pick — he was Indy's 15th-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft — Hooker faces the possibility of adding a fifth year to his rookie contract that's fully guaranteed for injury, but only if the Colts decide to exercise that option for the 2021 season.

Asked April 17 in his pre-draft press conference if the Colts plan on picking up Hooker's fifth-year option, Colts general manager Chris Ballard said the team would wait until after the draft to discuss the possibility.

"Yeah, we have a little time," Ballard said. "When I get through the draft, we'll sit down and we'll talk about the direction we're going to go there."

Hooker, 24, has played in 34 total games with three starts in his first three seasons with the Colts. He was off to a fast start his rookie season — nabbing three interceptions in his first seven games — before suffering a season-ending knee injury Week 7 against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Hooker has battled through other injuries since his rookie year, playing in 27 of a possible 32 regular season games across 2018 and 2019. Over his three years with the Colts, he has combined to collect 117 total tackles (for for a loss) with seven interceptions, 11 passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

Last season, Hooker played in 13 games and had 51 total tackles (one for a loss) with two interceptions, three passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

The Colts currently have just one returning safety, 2019 fourth-round pick Khari Willis, under contract past the 2020 season; other returners — George Odum and Rolan Milligan — are both currently set to become free agents next offseason.

The team also just selected Utah safety Julian Blackmon in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Blackmon, who suffered a knee injury at the end of his final college season and isn't expected to be fully back in the fold until October, according to Ballard, will be under contract with the Colts through 2023 once he signs his rookie contract.

The Colts also just signed undrafted rookie safety Donald Rutledge out of Georgia Southern.

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