Franchise tag window opens for Colts, Michael Pittman Jr.

The Indianapolis Colts can officially apply the franchise tag tender to any pending free agent Tuesday at 4:00 p.m. ET.

While the Colts have several vital players set to hit the market, only one is a candidate to receive the franchise tag: wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.

The franchise tag isn’t necessarily a bad thing for either side. In this case, the Colts can use the franchise tag as a tool to extend the negotiating window for a new contract extension.

The Colts have until March 5 to apply the designation so it would be a mild surprise if the team applied the tag right away. The two sides have time to come to an agreement on a contract extension, but if they don’t before the deadline, then the franchise tag would make sense.

Which tag the Colts would hypothetically apply matters as well. If the Colts apply the exclusive franchise tag, Pittman can’t negotiate with other teams. However, if the Colts apply the non-exclusive franchise tag (the most likely option), Pittman could still gauge the market.

On the non-exclusive franchise tag, the Colts could match any offer Pittman receives from another team. They also have the choice to refuse it, which would net them two first-round picks.

Pittman has expressed his desire to test the market, but he also has stated he’s not against the franchise tag if it means it leads to a contract extension.

The non-exclusive franchise tag seems like a solid option for both sides. Pittman gets to test the market, and the Colts get an idea of what other teams would offer.

The Colts have not used the franchise tag since 2013 when they used it on punter Pat McAfee. During the Chris Ballard era, there hasn’t really been a viable tag candidate before Pittman.

Regardless, the window for the franchise tag opens Tuesday afternoon, and we’ll keep you updated on any breaking information regarding these developments.

Story originally appeared on Colts Wire