OT Branden Albert (#78) of the Chiefs got paid big
And so the Franchise Tag deadline has come and passed now. As of 4:00 p.m. EST on March 4th, all NFL teams cannot use their franchise tags on any players until the beginning of next year's off season. There were many speculations on which teams would use it and which players would receive.
Many thought the likes of WR Dwayne Bowe from Kansas City would have received or many around the New England area would think CB Aquib Talib, OT Sebastian Vollmer, or even WR Wes Welker, the latter of the trio have been given the Pats franchise tag the season before. But out of all 32 NFL teams, only 8 used the franchise tag. The following players listed below received the Franchise Tags:
OT Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos
S Jarius Byrd, Buffalo Bills
DE Michael Johnson, Cinncinati Bengals
DT Henry Melton, Chicago Bears
P Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts
LB Anthony Spencer, Dallas Cowboys
DT Randy Starks, Miami Dolphins
OT Branden Albert, Kansas City Chiefs
The biggest shocker was the Chiefs using the Franchise tag on Albert. The reasoning for it was because they were able to successfully resign their Pro-Bowl receiver to a health 5-year, $56-million with $26-million guaranteed. Perhaps the next one was the Dolphins giving the tag to Starks, who was coming off a Pro Bowl season (27 Tackles, 4.5 Sacks, 1 INT, 4 Passes deflected). By franchising Starks, that leaves the 2008 #1 overall pick OT Jake Long in limbo on whether he'll be staying with the team or leaving via free agency. And finally, this is the second consecutive year that a punter had received the franchise tag. Last year New York Giants P Steve Weatherford received the franchise tag before signing a 5-year, $12.75-million deal.
Now that the franchise tag period is over, teams will be looking at the calender for March 12, the day that free agency begins. Right now many NFL GMs are on the clock trying to negotiate with their players that are soon to be free agents while planning which players to go after. But the clock is ticking and it will be ticking all the way to 11:59 P.M. on March 11th. When the clock strikes midnight, then the real fun begins.
-Ryan L. Fox
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