Colts franchise Robert Mathis, sides close to long-term deal

AP

Robert Mathis will be sticking with the Colts.

Mathis, a defensive end who was set to become an unrestricted free agent next week, will get the franchise tag for the time being, but multiple reports say both sides think they’re close to getting a long-term deal worked out.

Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star first reported that the Colts and Mathis had reached a tentative agreement on a long-term contract and that the franchise tag wouldn’t be necessary. Adam Schefter of ESPN reported minutes later that Mathis had been tagged because the two sides hadn’t reached their deal by the deadline to use the franchise tag, but that they’re trying to finalize a long-term deal. Albert Breer of NFL Network reported that the franchise tag is being used to provide time to get the long-term deal done.

In other words, Mathis is in Indianapolis for the long haul.

Unlike the very public Peyton Manning saga, the Colts have been doing everything quietly with Mathis, and that has led to some misinformation getting out about Mathis’s status. We noted yesterday that there were conflicting reports about whether the Colts and Mathis were talking. Clearly, the reports saying they weren’t having any negotiations at all were misinformed.

The 31-year-old Mathis has spent his entire nine-year career with the Colts. Last season he started all 16 games and recorded 9.5 sacks.