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Colts won’t tag Brackett, but still hope to sign him

So with only two unrestricted free agents as the uncapped year approaches -- the starting middle linebacker and a backup kicker -- the Colts won’t be using the franchise tag on either of them.

Team president Bill Polian said Wednesday that it’s unlikely that the team will use the restriction to hold linebacker Gary Brackett in place.

“We still have about 24 hours to decide what we want to do and we continue to talk,” Polian said, per the Associated Press. “I can’t tell you what we’ll do one way or the other. But as far as the franchise tag, I would think that we would not use that.”

The problem is that the franchise tag requires the team using it to offer the player a one-year deal with a salary equal to the average compensation of the five highest-paid players in the league from 2009. For linebackers, the 2010 number is $9.68 million.

Brackett’s agent previously has said that Brackett hopes to retire as a Colt. This likely has Polian banking on his ability to get Brackett signed to a long-term deal that doesn’t include $9.68 million in Year One as the starting point.

If they can’t get it done, Brackett will hit the open market on March 5.