The deadline to tag free agents with the "franchise tag" has come and gone. Quite literally at the deadline, Indianapolis Star columnist Bob Kravitz, once again playing "reporter," broke this little bit of news on Twitter:
Just in: Colts and Robert Mathis have reached a tentative agreement on a long-term contract. He will not be franchised.— BobKravitz (@bkravitz) March 5, 2012
Seven minutes later, NFL.com's Albert Breer tweeted this:
Can confirm Robert Mathis and Colts have agreed to terms on a deal. Club will tag him to provide time to work out the final details.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 5, 2012
Both men agree that the Colts have worked out some kind of deal with Mathis, which, of course, is fantastic news. However, the detail of whether or not he will be franchised is a pretty significant one. If Robert has agreed to a deal, then the Colts could use their tag on someone like, say, Pierre Garcon.
If they use the tag on Mathis, well, that's it then. Garcon, Reggie Wayne, and Jacob Tamme are all essentially free to sign with other teams when free agency starts.
It will be interesting to see if Kravitz botches the franchise tag element. The Sports Xchange's Len Pasquarelli all but said Kravitz's report from last week, that negotiations between Mathis and the Colts were "warming up considerably," was a load of bull.
Regardless, it's good news that Mathis will be a Colt as we enter this "New Era" for the franchise.
[UPDATE]: Robert was indeed tagged, but he doesn't seem to upset about it:
Still Bleedin BLUE!!! #YaDigg— ROBERT MATHIS (@RobertMathis98) March 5, 2012
Bob Kravitz has since updated his twitter timeline to clarify why he initially reported Mathis would not be tagged.
[UPDATE 2]: Mathis agrees to a new deal, per Jason Spells of WRTV in Indianapolis.