Colts franchise Robert Mathis

The Indianapolis Colts announced they've used the franchise tag on three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Mathis and have agreed to a new contract with him. According to a league source, Mathis received a four-year, $36 million contract that included a $15 million signing bonus.

The Colts acknowledged the deal isn't done, noting they have until March 13 to finish the deal.

"As a procedural matter, the franchise tag was applied to Mathis while the contract details are being finalized," the Colts announced.

The Colts and Mathis' agent ran up to today's NFL deadline to use the tag.

For now, Mathis' services are secured through a $10.6 million franchise tag.

Mathis ranks second in franchise history with 83 1/2 sacks, also forcing 39 fumbles and recovering 14.

"I just know those guys have been game-wreckers for a long time," Colts coach Chuck Pagano said of Mathis and fellow defensive end Dwight Freeney. "I know offenses have to account for both those guys. First and foremost, we're going to make sure that we put both those guys in positions to make plays. "I don't think it would be very smart on my part or anybody else's part to not make sure that doesn't happen. Both those guys are great players. They have been great players here for a long time. Those guys are Colts through and through. We fully expect to have them here for as long as we can." Mathis recorded 9 1/2 sacks, three forced fumbles and 43 tackles last season.

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