Originally written on The Colts Authority  |  Last updated 11/5/14

HOUSTON - NOVEMBER 29: Defensive end Robert Mathis #98 of the Indianapolis Colts looks on during the game with the Houston Texans on November 29, 2009 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas. The Colts won 35-27. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

After hearing conflicting reports for the past week, the Colts have finally locked up Robert Mathis for a long term deal this afternoon. Last week, Bob Kravitz reported that talks between the two parties were "warming up," but later reports claimed that no negotiations had yet to take place.

Earlier today, Adam Schefter tweeted the following:

 

Colts trying to sign DE Robert Mathis to a new deal but if they can't, they told him they will use franchise tag on him by today's deadline.

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) March 5, 2012

Right before the 4 PM deadline, it was released that the Colts had franchised Mathis, but that the two sides were close to a new deal.

20 minutes later, Mike Chappell of the Indy Star and Anthony Calhoun of WISH-TV both confirmed the agreement of a new deal.

First the tag, then more. Colts and Robert Mathis have agreed on long-term deal. Good for both sides.

— Mike Chappell (@mchappell51) March 5, 2012

BREAKING: The #Colts announce they have reached a long term deal withRobert Mathis...more tonight at 5pm on WISHTV.

— Anthony Calhoun (@ACwishtv) March 5, 2012

This is great news for the Colts' defense, and for Coach Pagano, who has gushed repeatedly over Mathis and Dwight Freeney. Mathis will likely transition to more of a stand-up, outside linebacker role, but it all depends on how the new defense shapes up.

The Colts now turn their attention to Pierre Garcon, Reggie Wayne, and the other 16 unrestricted free agents. Who should be next?

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