The Colts used the franchise tag on defensive end Robert Mathis to buy themselves a little more time to work out a long-term extension.
As it turns out, they didn’t need much time at all. The team sent out a release Monday afternoon to announce that they had reached agreement on a new contract with Mathis. Details of the deal haven’t been announced, but the most significant detail for now is that Mathis will be in Indianapolis for the long haul.
Mathis has 83.5 sacks and 39 forced fumbles for the Colts since they selected him in the fifth round of the 2003 Draft. There’s been some question about how he’d fit with the Colts’ defense if the team moves to the 3-4 defense that new head coach Chuck Pagano ran in Baltimore, but Mathis’ pass-rushing ability will likely work in whatever system Indy decides to run next season.
Now the Colts can turn their attention to the offense where wide receivers Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon are both free agents. There’s also been some discussion about Peyton Manning’s future with the team, something you might have heard some talk about in these parts over the last few months. Assuming Mathis’ deal comes with a cap figure lower than the $10.6 million or so he would have earned under the franchise tag, the Colts will have more money to use on that side of the ball.