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Free Agency Should Heat up Next Week with Combine Over

February 22nd, 2013 at 3:45 PM
By Chuck Chapman

Waiting for news on Pat McAfee getting re-signed? Wondering if the Indianapolis Colts have a shot at Dwayne Bowe or another free agent? You'll have to wait a few days while NFL front office personnel and scouts get finished with their business at the NFL Combine.

Very little news has trickled out regarding NFL teams and whether or not they'll be using their franchise tags to keep free agents for another year. Rumors are rampant, but at this stage that's all they are. 

In the high-stakes world of NFL contract negotiations, the Combine gives GMs a great opportunity: 800 plus media members assembled all looking for the latest scoop on player movement. And unless some Combine participant tests positive for drug use or lifts a car over his head during workouts, real news is hard to come by. There's only so many ways to write weigh-ins, 40 times and results of shuttle drills.

That's why NFL GMs and coaches will float rumors. The latest is that the Rams won't use their franchise tag on WR Danny Amendola. Whether or not that actually comes to pass remains to be seen, but at this point it's just a case of the Rams playing hardball with a free agent player. 

If Amendola does hit the market, the Colts would be wise to take a look at him as a replacement for Austin Collie. He, Wes Welker and Brian Hartline would be the top candidates to fill that role among free agents. Amendola is younger (though with an injury history) than Welker and would undoubtedly come at a cheaper price, leaving the Colts more money to use on a Dwayne Bowe or Mike Wallace. Hartline likely won't get out of Miami this year. When the rumor is that the team will tag a player, that usually comes about unless the player make serious waves about it.

On that note, credit the Colts' brass for largely bypassing this annual gossip-fest and communicating more directly with their players. Pat McAfee is the biggest concern for the Colts this season, and to their credits, both the Colts and McAfee have been pretty quiet about their negotiations thus far. For two Twitter personalities like @JimIrsay and @PatMcafeeShow, that's pretty amazing.

When the circus…err Combine leaves town early next week, expect some of these franchise tags to start being applied. Teams have until March 5 to designate their franchise tag (which can later be removed) and free agents can start negotiating and signing with other clubs on March 12.

Tags: Danny Amendola, Football, Indianapolis, Indianapolis Colts, NFL, Pat McAfee

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