Report: Colts punter Pat McAfee to play out 2013 season under the franchise tag

Brian McIntyre
Shutdown Corner

The Indianapolis Colts and franchised punter Pat McAfee are not expected to reach agreement on a multi-year extension before Monday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, Mike Chappell of the Indianapolis Star reports.

If no deal is reached by Monday's deadline, McAfee will play out the 2013 season under the one-year franchise tag, which is worth $2.977 million in fully guaranteed base salary. McAfee signed the one-year tender on April 4.

McAfee, 26, is coming off a 2012 season that saw him establish career-highs with a 40.3-yard net average with 26 punts placed inside the opponents' 20-yard line. McAfee also handles kickoff duties for the Colts and had a career-high 45 touchbacks last season, a mark that had him tied for sixth in the NFL.

According to Chappell, whether or not the two sides were even discussing a long-term extension is not known. Had discussions taken place, McAfee's camp would likely be looking for a deal that averaged $3.25 million to $4 million per season with $6.5 million to $7 million in guaranteed money.

After the lockout was lifted in 2011, punter/kickoff specialist Michael Koenen signed a five-year, $19.5 million contract ($3.25 million APY) with $6.5 million guaranteed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 2010, Koenen had a net average of 35.6 yards per punt with 23 touchbacks (under the old kickoff rules) for the Atlanta Falcons, where he played under a franchise tag worth $2.7313 million. Koenen has a net average of 39 yards per punt over the last seasons, but his 66.7 percent touchback percentage was the best in the NFL in 2012.

At the start of last year's training camp, the New Orleans Saints signed punter/kickoff specialist Thomas Morstead to a six-year, $21.9 million extension ($3.65 million average) that included $6.925 million in guaranteed money. Morstead has a net average of over 43 yards per punt the last two seasons and had the same number of touchbacks (45) that McAfee had last season, but on fewer kickoff attempts.

As of Friday, July 12, the Colts were $6.935 million under their adjusted salary cap number of $124.4 million. The Colts have yet to sign first-round linebacker Bjoern Werner, who will have a first-year cap number of $1,435,709, which means the Colts really have $6 million in cap space to work with this summer.

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