Colts, WR Michael Pittman Jr. Finalizing Deal

Michael Pittman Jr.‘s immediate future was already assured given the Colts’ decision to place the franchise tag on him. The team’s top wideout could be in place well beyond 2024, however, as Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reports the sides are working on a long-term deal which could be finalized today.

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Providing financial details on the agreement, Rapoport notes it will be a three-year deal with a base value of $70MM. $46MM of that total is guaranteed, and Pittman could earn up to $71.5MM. This accord will take the place of his $21.8MM franchise tag.

Pittman represented an obvious candidate for a new Colts deal given his importance to the team’s passing game. The 26-year-old saw his target share increase in each of his four seasons in the NFL, and that figure has comfortably reached triple-digits every year since 2021. He topped 1,000 receiving yards that year and again in 2023, but his number have pointed to good-not-great production in the eyes of many. Paying out a one-year tender (via the tag) at an average of the top-five receiver earners was thus seen as challenging for the team.

Instead, that situation has now been avoided with a multi-year pact, albeit one which will increase Pittman’s AAV. This new deal will bring an average of $23.3MM, a figure which ranks eighth in the league amongst wideouts and outpaces the value of the tag. The Colts are banking on continued development while also getting ahead of the next wave of WR deals. Ja’Marr Chase, Justin Jefferson and Brandon Aiyuk are among the up-and-coming producers at the position in line for monster extensions as early as this offseason. They could each move past Pittman on their respective accords.

Indianapolis has made multiple draft investments in recent years in a bid to find other cost-effective wideouts to complement Pittman. That effort has included using a second-round pick on Alec Pierce in 2022 and a third-rounder on Josh Downs last April. No pass-catcher has matched Pittman’s importance to the Colts’ offense, however, and the USC product will remain a focal point moving forward. He, along with quarterback Anthony Richardson and running back Jonathan Taylor will comprise the backbone of Indianapolis’ offense in 2024 and beyond.

The Colts will still have plenty of spending power for the offseason; this extension will likely lower Pittman’s 2024 cap number despite the AAV coming in at a higher rate than the franchise tag. More moves involving offensive playmakers could be coming, but the team’s top internal priority has now been taken care of.

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