Ever since Chris Ballard took over as general manager, the Indianapolis Colts have yet to apply the franchise tag to a player set to hit the market. Could that change in 2021?
Even with some big names hitting free agency this offseason, it is unlikely the Colts will use the franchise tag. This isn’t an avenue that Ballard explores very often.
The Colts have made it clear they have a valuation process and they will stick to it. Most of the time that means they are either re-signing a player to an extension or they will simply let the player walk. Given that the franchise tag is average of the top-five salaries at a player’s position, the Colts won’t be using the tag often.
The biggest free agents to hit the market this offseason for the Colts, in no order, are wide receiver T.Y. Hilton, defensive ends Justin Houston and Al-Quadin Muhammad and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
All three of those positions will command a franchise tag of around $15 million for the 2021 season. This makes it an easy decision for the Colts to not use the franchise tag this offseason.
While re-signing some of those players may be a priority for the Colts, using the franchise tag isn’t in the plans. None of those players will command that kind of money on the open market so it’s pretty easy to say the Colts won’t be exercising that option.
The start of the window to franchise tag a player is Feb. 23 while the deadline for teams to do so is March 9.