The Indianapolis Colts will likely make many notable moves in the coming week, but today they made one that wasn't as noteworthy but still important. The team announced today that they have made a qualifying offer to restricted free agent tight end Jack Doyle.
Doyle was claimed by the Colts off of waivers in September of 2013 and has been with the team ever since. During his time with the Colts, he has played in 47 games (starting seven) and has caught 35 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns. In five postseason games, Doyle has caught seven passes for 30 yards. He has proven to be a reliable receiver when need be and a more than capable blocker for the Colts.
What the qualifying offer means is that the Colts will have the right to match any deal that Doyle is offered by another team. So he could still shop around in free agency, but the Colts will have the right to match that deal since Doyle is a restricted free agent and was given a qualifying offer. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Colts gave Doyle the lowest tender (which was expected), meaning that if Doyle does sign with another team and the Colts don't match it, the Colts won't get any compensation back. With the lowest tender, the team would get compensation in the form of a draft pick equal to the player's original draft round - and, since Doyle was undrafted, that would mean the Colts wouldn't get any pick back. It also means that Doyle's tender is a one-year deal for $1.671 million.
With Coby Fleener and Dwayne Allen both set to become free agents next week, this was something the Colts needed to do. It's likely the team will bring one of those two tight ends back, but either way it is expected that Doyle will take on a larger role, possibly becoming the team's number two tight end. It should be no surprise that the Colts have made a qualifying offer to him, then, and it's expected that they will bring him back - which, considering the uncertainty regarding Fleener and Allen, is a good thing.