- The NFL’s deadline to use the franchise or transition tag on current roster players came and went today and, one year after a record number of tags were used, the number dropped dramatically this year.
- In total, eight players were tagged with all of the tags going out as franchise tags. That’s just one third of the 21 tags that went out last year.
- As expected, the Rams did not use the franchise tag again this year. The only player they even considered for that designation was WR Danny Amendola but it was never really an option considering the $10.5 million price tag. They’ll continue to try to work out a deal with Amendola in the coming days and weeks.
- Remember, with the non-exclusive franchise tag, players can seek offers from other teams and sign offer sheets elsewhere. Upon those signings, the original team retains the right to match the offer but if it chooses not to is entitled to two first-round draft picks as compensation.
- Here’s the list of players to receive the franchise tag.
Indianapolis P Pat McAfeee
Miami DT Randy Starks
Cincinnati DE Michael Johnson
Chicago DT Henry Melton
Denver OT Ryan Clady
Buffalo S Jairus Byrd
Dallas OLB/DE Anthony Spencer
Kansas City OT Branden Albert
- With those tags going out, it leaves one of the better free agent classes to hit the open market in recent years, particularly at positions such as offensive tackle and cornerback.
- Some of the players who did not get tagged and will be free to hit the market: Tennessee TE Jared Cook, Miami OT Jake Long, Miami CB Sean Smith, New England WR Wes Welker, Pittsburgh WR Mike Wallace, Green Bay WR Greg Jennings, San Francisco S Dashon Goldson, Atlanta S William Moore, Buffalo OG Andy Levitre, Cincinnati OT Andre Smith, Baltimore LB Danell Ellerbe, Baltimore S Ed Reed and Baltimore LB Paul Kruger.
- That’s just a small sample of the players likely to hit the market on March 12. Keep in mind that teams can still sign their own free agents between now and the start of free agency. But at this point, most players and agents are close enough to free agency that they prefer to see what’s out there.
- Free agency is set to begin on March 12 but this year the “negotiating window” or as I like to call it the “legal tampering” period begins on Saturday. Teams can start negotiating with outside free agents for three days beginning then.
- Lots more to come and stay tuned to our free agent preview series as we move closer to the period. Thanks for reading.
- Below is the FRANCHISE/TRANSITION numbers for this year with the franchise tag listed first.
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