Colts buy insurance with Manning tag

Unsurprisingly, the guy who is as much of a franchise player as the NFL knows is now wearing the franchise tag.

Colts owner Jim Irsay tweeted that Peyton Manning has been tagged by Indianapolis. Chris Mortensen reports it's an exclusive rights tag, same as Michael Vick got from the Eagles, meaning no one else can make Manning an offer.

The NFLPA debates the validity of the tags going forward, saying they don’t apply to a season that isn’t covered by the expiring collective bargaining agreement.

But the league believes they do carry over, and they could well be part of the new agreement.

Manning’s not looking to jump to another team, and if a new deal isn’t done before the expected lockout, this gives the Colts a measure of insurance as they maintain his rights.

His one year price tag will be 120 percent of his 2010 salary, which amounts to $20,959,999 by Adam Schefter’s count.

Here’s Phil Richards' story from the Indy Star.

Even if the Colts reach a deal with Manning that renders the tag meaningless, they cannot use it again for the 2011 season. The deadline to tag players is Feb. 23.

We looked at other AFC South possibilities here.