Colts defensive end Robert Mathis has signed his one-year contract tender, ensuring his return to Indianapolis in 2006. Mathis was the only restricted free agent that received the top-tier contract tender from the Colts. Linebacker Cato June received a mid-tier tender while safety Gerome Sapp and offensive lineman Makoa Freitas received low-tier tenders.
Mathis is the first of the group to sign his tender, but Freitas has told ColtPower that he intends to sign his this weekend.
Under the terms of his tender, if Mathis had received a better offer sheet from another team that the Colts refused to match, the other team would have had to give the Colts a first- and third-round draft pick as compensation. But that remote possibility disappeared today with his acceptance of the Colts offer.
"Robert was very excited about returning to the Colts," his agent, Hadley Engelhard, told ColtPower today.
"Thinking about how he started in the NFL (as a fifth-round pick) compared to where he is today is a great accomplishment. The recognition he's receiving from the Colts is well-deserved."
Mathis has improved annually in his number of tackles, special teams tackles, sacks, and forced fumbles. He was the 2005 Colts team leader in all of those categories except for total tackles. Over the past two seasons, he's been credited with 22 sacks and 14 forced fumbles.
Although Mathis' signing will keep him in Indianapolis this season, he is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in 2007. But there's a chance that his one-year contract could be torn up before the start of the season.
"There's been some preliminary dialogue about a long-term deal," said Englehard.
Mathis' Recognition Well-Deserved
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