Just before the news dropped that Mathis would be tagged, Bob Kravitz of the Indianapolis Star tweeted that Mathis and the team had come to a tentative agreement on a long-term contract and that he would not be slapped with the franchise tag. That contract is still coming, but the team put the tag on him as a precaution because of the looming franchise tag deadline.
Colts tagged Robert Mathis as precaution but are deep in talks on long-term deal and both sides hope to have that done shortly #insideslant— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) March 5, 2012
Mathis, who is 31 years old, has played the entirety of his nine-year NFL career with the Colts. He recorded 9.5 sacks this season on a defense that badly underperformed around him, and he has been selected to the Pro Bowl four times in his career.