Relax everyone. Breath a little easier. It seems Peyton Manning will not become an unrestricted free agent the minute the lockout ends. From Adam Schefter:
There are expected to be franchise tags in next CBA, yes.
Prior to the lockout, the Indianapolis Colts slapped the franchise tag on free agent Peyton Manning.
Schefter is also Tweeting that if and when a new CBA is reached between the owners and players (and everyone seems to think it will happen in the next two weeks), all players with four, five, and six years of playing in the NFL are expected to be unrestricted free agents.
Now, it's important to note that Schefter's report of 'franchise tags' does not include tenders offered to players prior to the lockout. This means that players like Joseph Addai, Charlie Johnson, and Melvin Bullitt will become unrestricted, and the Colts would be offered no compensation if they sign with other teams.
Mike Florio elaborates:
As a practical matter, it means that plenty of money will be flowing once the market opens, and those restricted free agency tenders applied to players with four year and five years of service, such as Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards, become meaningless.
In other words, things will be crazy whenever the NFL re-opens for the business. And we’ll be here to give you the latest on player movement, once the movement is allowed to happen.
So, this means all those one-year tenders the Colts and others signed their players to are meaningless, which is what we said would happen. Bottom line is there are several players we many assumed would be on this roster in 2011 who won't be. Remember what Melvin Bullitt said in March:
"I can't see myself coming back (to the Colts) other than with a long-term contract," said Bullitt. "Just to be quite honest, it's business."