HomeSportsMichael Pittman Jr. gets franchise tag from Colts, weakening a weak...

Michael Pittman Jr. gets franchise tag from Colts, weakening a weak WR class

If your favorite team has a lot of cap space and issues at wide receiver, free agency may not provide many solutions.

The free agency class at receiver took some big hits this week. Mike Evans was re-signed by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and on Tuesday the Indianapolis Colts gave up the franchise label to Michael Pittman Jr. It’s a non-exclusive tag, so other teams can negotiate with Pittman. The title would be worth $21.8 million this season, via NFL mediabut the Colts and Pittman will continue to negotiate a long-term deal.

It’s not unexpected that the Colts tagged Pittman. That seemed inevitable. Pittman had 109 catches for 1,152 yards last season despite uneven quarterback play. He’s still just 26 years old and one of the building blocks for the Colts.

Pittman came in as a second-round pick and had an immediate impact. He has two 1,000-yard seasons since entering the league in 2020. He is a big, athletic, productive target who would have received a huge reward in free agency. The Colts knew that too and that’s why they tagged him.

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The Colts using the tag shows how much they value Pittman. According to Zac Keefer of The Athletic the Colts haven’t used the franchise tag in eleven years, most recently on gambler (and current podcast host) Pat McAfee.

That leaves good but flawed options like Calvin Ridley and Marquise Brown as the clear top options at receiver before free agency. Teams have increased their top receiver values ​​in recent years, and not many of them become available through free agency.

The Colts had no intention of letting Pittman hit free agency. That’s bad news for teams looking to fill a need at receiver.

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