Last year, the Indianapolis Colts used their exclusive franchise tag on punter Pat McAfee, which resulted in a one-year contract. This year, general manager Ryan Grigson could use the tag on another kicker. This time, it might be on 19-year veteran Adam Vinatieri who, like McAfee, will be an unrestricted free agent when the new league year begins March 11th.
Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star suggests that if the Colts were to tag Vinatieri, he'd likely cost $4 million against the cap next year.
The cost for a tagged placekicker is $3.4 million, although it would be about $4 million for Vinatieri. The CBA calls for a player to be paid the franchise figure or a 20 percent increase over his previous season's salary-cap figure, whichever is higher. Vinatieri was on the books for $3.4 million in '13.
$4 million is acceptable for a player like Vinatieri considering he's 41 years old and coming off one of the best seasons of his entire career. He drilled 87% of his field goals, including 4 from beyond 50 yards. Those 4 tied a career high, which he set just last season. In the last three years, Vinatieri has made more 50+ yard field goals (10) than in his previous ten seasons, which all include his four Super Bowls won.
Like a fine wine, Vinatieri seems to get better the older he gets. Reliable field goal kickers are critical to the success of any team, and Vinatieri might be the best to ever knock a pigskin through two posts. I'd have no issue if Grigson needed to tag "Vinny" in order to retain his services for 2014.