Because Vinatieri has been tagged twice, the Colts would have to pay him at the quarterback price in order franchise him this year.
There is no way that is happening given that quarterbacks are projected to make $16.2 million under the franchise tag this year.
Chappell mentions that CB Vontae Davis and S Antoine Bethea could also be options for the team’s franchise tag, but he doesn’t believe it makes much fiscal sense to use the designation on these players.
Last year, the Colts used their franchise tag on Pat McAfee, bu it appears as though they will allow him to test open market. Tagging Vinatieri would run them $3.4 million for the 2014 season, but they could always negotiate a long-term contract in the months leading up to the start of the season.
Meanwhile, tagging either Davis or Bethea would run them $11.3 million and $8.1 million respectively. Indianapolis has cap space to work with, but it would probably make more sense to focus on long-term contracts for both players.
Chappell doesn’t expect Vinatieri to offer them much of a hometown discount given that he’s coming off of a great season.
Vinatieri, 41, has said that he would like to continue playing for another “two or three more years.” In 2013, he converted 35 of 40 field goals (87.5%) and was 4 of 6 from over 50 yards.
We have Davis and Bethea both listed in our Top 50 Free Agents list.