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Report: Colts P Pat McAfee will play 2013 under franchise tag

By Will Brinson | NFL Writer

Pat McAfee will reportedly play under his franchise tag in 2013.
Pat McAfee will reportedly play under his franchise tag in 2013. (USATSI)

CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora's been saying for weeks not to expect many franchise-tag deals in advance of Monday's deadline. (The Broncos and Ryan Clady did end up locking down a deal Sunday as expected, however.) It appears we can go ahead and eliminate at least one deadline deal, as Colts punter Pat McAfee will reportedly play out 2013 under his franchise tender.

Mike Chappelle of the Indianapolis Star reports that there won't be a long-term contract for the punter ahead of Monday's July 15 deadline to lock down franchise players. And McAfee's email response to the Star appears to confirm that.

"I'm ecstatic about the opportunity to be an Indianapolis Colt for at least another year,'' McAfee wrote. "A long-term deal is obviously something that every player hopes to one day earn. But to have another year in a city that I love, playing for a team with the best locker room in the league and representing a fan base that is the best in the NFL is awesome.

"My focus and hope is that my talents help bring another Lombardi to an organization and a fan base that deserve it. More so than anything, I'm pumped to have another year to work in the beautiful community of Indianapolis."

Punters and kickers are always odd cases when it comes to franchise tags. Maybe it's the name, but it seems weird sticking them with the tender. However, the single-year, $2.977 deal for the 26-year-old McAfee isn't necessarily a bad thing, particularly for the Colts.

McAfee set a personal best -- and was sixth in the NFL -- with his 47.9 yards per punt average in 2012. Though the last time the Colts let a player play under their franchise tender (Edgerrin James, 2005) he left the year after, if McAfee puts up similar stats in 2013, he's a good bet to end up finding a fit with Indianapolis over the long term.

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