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The Colts Will Have The Franchise Tag To Use February 10th

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Between now and February 10th, the Colts and free-agent-to-be Peyton Manning can negotiate a new contract. If either side cannot agree on terms, the Colts were informed by the league office that on February 10th they can use the Franchise Tag, all this according to Greg A. Bedard at Boston.com.

Now, I'm sure some of you are wondering how a team can use the Franchise Tag when there is no Collective Bargaining Agreement for 2011. Bedard quotes NFL senior vice president and general counsel Peter Rucco:

"The CBA hasn’t expired and the CBA has the right to franchise players so we are telling clubs that you have the right to franchise players and then depending on what the new agreement says, that will take into account," Rucco said. "Neither party is proposing to get rid of the franchise tag. But as far as we’re concerned, clubs have the right to tag players, the agreement continues with the same terms and conditions that it has been; it isn’t expiring until March 4 and the window to franchise players is 14 days. From our standpoint, you have every right to franchise players."

Here's my question: What happens after March 4th? Is the player no longer 'tagged?' It would sure seem that way to me.

This new information seems to have cranked up the pressure for Manning and the Colts to iron out a deal. We know the Colts made a 'lucrative offer' to Manning in a face-to-face meeting back on January 23rd. Manning and his agent, Tom Condon, walked away from that face-to-face offer without signing on the dotted line.

It will be interesting to see if anything gets done between now and February 10th.