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Colts re-sign Kelvin Hayden, do not use franchise tag to do so

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The start of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium and the introduction of new assistants Larry Coyer and Ray Rychleski were not THE big story to come out of Colts Land yesterday. Without needing to use the franchise tag, the Colts re-signed CB Kelvin Hayden to a 5 year, $43 million dollar contract, with $22 million in guaranteed money. According to the Indy Star's Mike Chappell (via shake n bake), Kelvin's 2009 cap hit will be between 6 and 7 million. Our own shake n bake elaborates:

Hayden's deal isn't top 5. The Indy Star writer put it’s cap hit as 6-7million. That puts it as the 8th or 9th highest, which means it only effects the transition tag, not the franchise.

Obviously, re-signing Kelvin was big. He is fast developing into one of the better corners in football. He might have been a starter in the Pro Bowl last year if he hadn't have missed 5 games. And the deal itself is not cap crushing. While we all look at the numbers and shake our heads ($43 million!), from a team management standpoint, this is a very fair deal that allows the Colts some breathing room when it comes to re-signing (or signing) other players. And since the Colts did not have to use the franchise tag to get the deal done, maybe Polian will use the tag to retain another player until a long-term deal can be worked out, like center Jeff Saturday.

The deadline to use the franchise tag is today, February 19th.

This signing also makes the recent Marvin Harrison news from Adam Shefter at NFL.com more intriguing (tip to monstersbox). Shefter (who is one of the best at breaking REAL and accurate news) blogged that the Colts were going to cut Marvin very soon because they needed to franchise Hayden. Since Hayden was not franchised, it might help Indy re-focus on a better, more cap-friendly deal with Marvin. We will see.