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* Marlin Jackson, CB, RFA. The labor uncertainty could make a difficult decision for the Colts and Jackson a bit easier. He has finished the last two offseasons on injured reserve with knee injuries, and that could have made it difficult for the Colts to offer him a long-term deal. He likely has lost his starting job to rookie Jerraud Powers, but it would be surprising if the Colts don’t offer him a tender to stay in some capacity.
* Charlie Johnson, OT, RFA. The surprising thing about Johnson to Colts fans may be that he’s just a four-year veteran. In a way, it seems he has been around longer – mainly because he has been so valuable and so versatile along the offensive line. He moved into the starting lineup this season at left tackle. It remains to seen whether the Colts want him to start there long-term, but no matter what the team sees as the future at the spot, it would be surprising if they don’t tender Johnson and keep him in the line rotation. He has been reliable in too many situations to let him go.
* Tyjuan Hagler, LB, RFA. His five-year career has been frustrating – not just to fans and the team, but to himself. The Colts love his ability, but when he missed his rookie season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, it set a tone. He never has played a full season, and despite that, he has worked his way into the starting lineup on several occasions. How talented is Hagler? Consider: after testing free agency last offseason, he re-signed with the Colts and beat out second-year veteran Philip Wheeler, a third-round selection in the 2008 NFL Draft. He started the first seven games of the season and was placed on injured reserve with a biceps injury. Still, considering his ability, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Colts bring him back.
* Freddy Keiaho, LB, RFA. The Colts did not offer him a tender last season, after which he tested free agency before returning to the Colts. Such a scenario doesn’t seem unreasonable this season. He’s probably not a long-term starter for the Colts, but as a backup, he’s solid and knows the system.
* Hank Baskett, WR, RFA. With the return of WR Anthony Gonzalez next season, and with Colts typically favoring youth over experience in the backup roles, the 2009 season likely will be his only one with the Colts.
* Tim Jennings, CB, RFA. He’s the defensive player fans and media love to criticize, but as a fourth or fifth corner, teams can do much, much worse. He gets beat at times, and he may not be ideal as a second-round selection, but he has a knack for making plays at times, too and has filled in adequately more than once when injuries have hit the secondary.
* Dan Federkeil, OT, RFA. The Colts like something in Federkeil, who has the versatility to play guard and or tackle. His last two seasons have been shortened by injuries and it will be interesting to see what the Colts do here.
* T.J. Rushing, CB, RFA. He has proven himself versatile as a backup corner/safety, as well as a punt returner. He hasn’t been spectacular, but he has been solid and hasn’t made noticeable mistakes. His versatility has earned him a role for four seasons, and if the Colts don’t move to significantly upgrade the returner position in the draft, he could get a chance to return.
* Aaron Francisco, S, RFA. In the old CBA, he would have been unrestricted, but given the league’s labor circumstances, he likely will be restricted. He his a fifth-year veteran and the Colts showed how much they liked him by keeping him active this season throughout a long-term midseason injury. He’s a solid special teams player and it wouldn’t shocking if the Colts offered him enough of a tender to keep him entering training camp.
*Antonio Johnson, DT, Exclusive Rights Free Agent. Exclusive Rights Free Agents rarely sign elsewhere, and the Colts almost certainly will re-sign Johnson. After signing with the Colts off the Tennessee practice squad last season, he emerged as a starter this season. He started the entire season and was considered a reason the Colts were improved against the run.
*Dan Muir, DT, EFA. His story is similar to that of Johnson, and the Colts almost certainly will re-sign him. He became a big reason for the improvement of the Colts’ running defense this season. The Colts likely will try to upgrade defensive tackle, but they just as likely will want Muir to be a crucial part of the rotation.
*Michael Toudouze, OT, EFA. Originally a fifth-round selection by the Colts in the 2006 NFL Draft, he has been on and off the practice squad and the roster in four seasons. He finished the season on the active roster, and considering that, he likely will get a chance to go to training camp again next season.
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