The Colts are still engaged in talks with cornerback Vontae Davis in an effort to lock him up to a long-term contract, according to Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. However, today’s franchise deadline looming, the team won’t use its tag on Davis, La Canfora reports.
The deadline for NFL teams to use their 2014 franchise tags is today at 3:00pm central time. Assuming the Colts and Davis don’t agree to terms on a new deal by this afternoon, the two sides are expected to continue negotiating throughout the week, with Indianapolis attempting to keep the former 25th overall pick from hitting the open market. Even if Davis does become a free agent on March 11, that doesn’t mean he won’t return to Indy — gauging offers from other suitors may give Davis and the Colts a better idea of his value, allowing them to strike a deal.
Although Davis grabbed just one interception in 2013, the 25-year-old ranked among the best cornerbacks in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required). Only Darrelle Revis and fellow free-agent-to-be Brent Grimes had higher overall grades at the position than the Colts’ standout CB, according to PFF. Given his age and production, Davis figures to draw plenty of interest if he reaches unrestricted free agency.
Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star adds (via Twitter) that the Colts won’t use their franchise tag at all this year, which is unsurprising now that we know the club doesn’t intend to use it on Davis. Because kicker Adam Vinatieri has been tagged twice previously, he’s not a candidate to receive the franchise tag again. The only other viable candidate on the team is Antoine Bethea, but even the relatively modest franchise price for a safety ($8.433MM) looks a little too pricey for Bethea.