The NFL’s new league year beginning on March 7 means teams must make a decision on franchise tagging impending free agents. But The Athletic’s Zak Keefer revealed that the Indianapolis Colts will not be using the franchise tag by the 4 p.m. ET deadline.
Keefer also noted that the franchise tag has not been used by the Colts in a decade. The last time that happened was when former Indianapolis punter Pat McAfee was tagged and received nearly $3 million during the 2013 season.
Defensive end Yannick Nagkoue and linebacker Bobby Okereke were two of the team’s top players on expiring contracts eligible for a franchise tag this offseason, but it appears each will test the waters of free agency.
The Score’s Jordan Schultz reported on March 6 that Okereke has generated signing interest from the Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers. Schultz said he expects Okereke to receive a deal in the $12 million to $14 million per year range.
Colts Finalize 2023 Coaching Staff
The Colts have finished filling coaching vacancies just two months into their offseason.
On March 7, the team officially announced new and returning coaches that will be on staff for the 2023 season.
New Colts head coach Shane Steichen began sorting out his staff ever since he was hired on February 14. The most notable coach Steichen retained is defensive coordinator Gus Bradley, who decided to keep seven of his defensive assistants in 2023.
“I have a ton of respect for Gus,” Steichen said to Colts.com writer J.J. Stankevitz. “I spent four years with him (with the Los Angeles Chargers, 2017-2020), just the person he is, the leader he is. Nothing but phenomenal things to say about Gus. I’m very fortunate to have him still in the building and then obviously the rest of the staff that’s in place.”
Among the returners on the offensive side include wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne, offensive quality control and wide receivers assistant Brian Bratton and assistant special teams coach Joe Hastings.
More Richardson Rumors
Amidst growing speculation with the conclusion of the NFL combine, BroBible’s Dov Kleiman reported on March 7 that Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson is gaining popularity and could be selected first overall in the upcoming draft.
Kleiman attributed a quote from NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, fueling rumors that Richardson’s stock is on the rise.
“A rumor I’ve heard is don’t discount Anthony Richardson as the first overall pick,” Eisen said.
Kleiman also recently spoke to an NFL executive, who noted Richardson has the “best upside in the draft.” That executive even compared Richardson as a “blend of Josh Allen, Cam Newton and Justin Fields.”
Despite the Colts currently holding the No. 4 selection, the team did not formally interview Richardson during the NFL combine, Eisen said on his March 6 radio show.
Richardson was recently linked to the Colts, who are set to take a rookie quarterback in the upcoming draft. The team currently holds the No. 4 selection.