The deadline for NFL teams to use the exclusive rights franchise tag is today at 4:00 p.m. ET. One player who will reportedly not get slapped with that tag is cornerback Vontae Davis.
Per a report from CBS Sports' Jason LaCanfora, the Indianapolis Colts have no plans to use the franchise tag on Davis, who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent on March 11th. Colts general manager Ryan Grigson has confirmed that Indy will not tag Davis, via the Indianapolis Star.
Upon reading LaCanfora's report, the sense I got is that the Colts are close to a deal with Davis. If not, why wouldn't they use the franchise tag? That tag provides them with leverage, which is something they haven't had much of in terms of re-signing the sixth-year corner. With the tag now no longer an option, the smart thing for Davis to do is to enter free agency, where his price could go up significantly if teams like the San Francisco 49ers start getting into a bidding war for his services.
Bottom line here is that the Colts and Ryan Grigson are either close to a deal with Davis, or they are planning to let him walk. Allowing him to enter free agency is simply not an option if Grigson truly wishes to re-sign the cornerback he once gave away a second round pick to acquire from the Dolphins.