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INDIANAPOLISWe are about to get our first major action on a long off-season checklist for the Indianapolis Colts.

Beginning Tuesday, the Colts will have a two-week window to decide if they’ll use the franchise tag this offseason.

For the first time in a decade, there’s a real possibility the Colts could use the tag, thanks to the presence of Michael Pittman Jr.

A reminder of how the exclusive franchise tag works:

-If the Colts were to tag Pittman Jr., it would lock him in for the 2024 season, under a one-year deal at $20.7 million, fully guaranteed. That number comes from averaging the 5-largest wide receiver salaries from the previous season.

-Upon tagging Pittman Jr. the Colts would then have kept him from hitting the open market when free agency opens up on March 13th. The team and Pittman Jr. will then have around 5 months to try and work out a long-term deal. If not, Pittman Jr. will play out the ’24 season on the one-year franchise tag. Pittman Jr. would be a free agent in 2025.

If the Colts choose not to use the franchise tag on Pittman Jr., the 4th year wideout will then hit free agency on March 13th, unless the two sides can get a long-term deal done before then.

A tag of Pittman Jr., or any player for that matter, always leads to some questions about how that player views such a situation.

Sure, as Pittman Jr has stated, a one-year deal at $20.7 million is quite the sum of money to play at. Having said that, Pittman Jr. also would have zero contractual guarantees past this 2024 season.

How would that impact his involvement in the offseason—a critical one for him in helping Anthony Richardson grow?

We have seen quite often around the NFL, many tagged players electing not to participate in certain aspects of the offseason, seeking out more financial guarantees, while a long-term deal is hopefully figured out.

In a way, Jonathan Taylor did something similar last year (without the franchise tag), and eventually got those multi-year rewards, and Pittman Jr. certainly took note of it.

Lately though, a player getting tagged is no slam dunk for a long-term deal getting done.

The Colts have not shied away though from stating their public appreciation for Pittman Jr.

Letting Pittman Jr. walk in free agency would create quite a void at wide receiver, with no obvious Plan B staring at them this offseason.

In an offseason where the Colts have quite a few decisions to be made regarding their in-house players, what they do with Pittman Jr. is atop the list.

And we are about to get our first answer on their plans.

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