There aren't many players in the 2024 free agent class with better timing than Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr.

Pittman totaled his first 100-catch season in 2023 at age 26 during his contract year. The 109 catches he totaled were fifth-most in the NFL this past season and rank as tied for fourth-most in a single season in Colts history. They're also the most since current Indianapolis wide receivers coach Reggie Wayne, a 2024 Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist, erupted for 111 back in the 2010 season, Hall of Famer Peyton Manning's last healthy season with the Colts.

 As a result, Indianapolis placed the non-exclusive franchise tag on Pittman on Tuesday, the team announced. The difference between the non-exclusive tag and the exclusive tag is that Pittman can field offers from other teams. The Colts also have the opportunity to match or reject any offer. If the Colts opt against matching, the other team would owe the Colts two first-round picks.

The franchise tag value for the wide receiver position is a one-year, fully guaranteed $21.8 million deal.

Most receptions in season 
Colts history



Marvin Harrison



Marvin Harrison



Reggie Wayne



Michael Pittman Jr.



Marvin Harrison



Reggie Wayne


Based off what Colts general manager Chris Ballard said at the NFL Scouting Combine last week, Indianapolis hopes to secure Pittman's services for future seasons to come, not just 2024. 

"Here's what I'll tell you, we've had talks with his agent, who is really good. His agent has been doing it a long time. He's really good at what he does. We'll work hard to get a deal done," Ballard said via transcript. "It's [the franchise tag] a tool we have. I'm not going to say we're not going to use it, but I'm not going to say we are. Hopefully we can come to an agreement and find some compromise on a deal."

Compromising will be more difficult than perhaps anticipated for Ballard and his front office since Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans re-signed for an average annual salary of $26 million a year with $35 million guaranteed entering his age-31 season. Pittman knows he can ask for a Brinks truck of cash with Indianapolis possessing $66.1 million in effective cap space, sixth-most in the NFL per OverTheCap.com, and a quarterback on his rookie deal in 2023 fourth overall draft pick Anthony Richardson