Colts, Brackett Talking

Linebacker Gary Brackett is a restricted free agent, but the Colts appear to be interested in keeping him with the team for '06 and beyond.

All three of the Colts linebackers are scheduled to become free agents, but according to one of our sources, the Colts are taking the initial step towards keeping one of them in the fold with a multi-year deal.

Linebackers Gary Brackett and Cato June will both be restricted free agents, while strongside linebacker David Thornton will be an unrestricted free agent as of March 3rd. But our source tells us that the team has been talking to Brackett and his agent about a contract extension rather than simply going the route of a contract tender that would allow Brackett to field offers from other teams.

If the two sides can't get a deal done before the deadline, expect to see the Colts offer at least a mid-range one-year tender that would require another interested team to part with a first-round draft pick to sign him. That would bring the former undrafted free agent out of Rutgers a salary in the range of $1.5 million for the 2006 season.

Due to the fact that Brackett was signed as an unrestricted free agent, it's unlikely that the Colts would take the risk of putting up the lowest tier contract tender because that would force the Colts to match the best offer from another team, letting them set his value, or lose him without receiving any draft pick compensation at all if they choose not to match the offer.

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