Colts haven’t used the franchise tag in a decade but that could change next offseason

Nov 21, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28)
Nov 21, 2021; Orchard Park, New York, USA; Indianapolis Colts running back Jonathan Taylor (28) / Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been 10 straight offseasons since the Indianapolis Colts last used the franchise tag. There’s a chance that streak ends for Indy next offseason.

Another franchise tag deadline has passed without the Indianapolis Colts utilizing the tag to retain a player that was set to enter free agency. That now makes it 10 years since the Colts last used the franchise tag. The last time Indianapolis franchise tagged a player was in 2013 and the player was punter, Pat McAfee. Since then, Indy has either been able to re-sign players or have just let them walk.

That’s the case for the Colts this offseason as well. The only franchise tag discussions going on in Indianapolis this offseason is about Lamar Jackson and if Indy should acquire Jackson who’s on the non-exclusive franchise tag. Aside from that, there are no tag concerns for Indy as the team prepares to enter free agency.

However, there’s a good chance that Indy’s streak of not using the franchise tag could come to an end next offseason. Obviously, there’s an entire season to play and plenty of moves to be made before the 2024 offseason, but just looking ahead and seeing the Colts players that are set to be free agents next year, and it’s evident that Indy will have a lot of tough decisions to make and may be tempted to use the franchise tag.

Colts will be tempted to use the franchise tag in 2024

Starting this offseason, Indianapolis will enter a brutal year of contract negotiations. Indy has a lot of players entering the final year of their contracts, and a lot of them are contributing players that are worthy of extensions. Some of the Colts players set to become free agents in 2024: Jonathan Taylor, Michael Pittman Jr., Kenny Moore, Grover Stewart, Stephon Gilmore, Isaiah Rodgers, and Julian Blackmon.

In that group is not only some of Indy’s best players, but some of them are some of the best players in the NFL and should absolutely be apart of the Colts’ future if the team wants continued success. Unfortunately, the business side of the NFL will make it tough for the Colts to pull that off. It will be extremely tough to accomplish without the use of the franchise tag.

Chris Ballard has been tremendous in securing players to long-term extensions but this next year will likely be his toughest challenge yet. If Indy is going to retain all of these players, it’s going to take a negotiation masterclass from Ballard, or the team will have to use the franchise tag.

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