Should the Washington Redskins Use the Franchise Tag on Fred Davis?

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistFebruary 19, 2013

September 30, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis (83) runs with the ball during the second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. The Redskins won 24-22. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

NFL teams are able to start slapping players with the franchise tag this week, and the first name that comes to mind for the Washington Redskins is tight end Fred Davis

Davis, of course, was tagged by the team last offseason, preventing the young, rising star from hitting the open market in mid-March. It made a lot of sense, especially because there were questions regarding Davis' off-the-field behavior. 

Those questions haven't necessarily gone away. After all, there was that bizarre civil trial in which Davis defended himself. But also consider that Davis missed the second half of the 2012 season due to a ruptured left Achilles' tendon and he likely won't be recovered until the spring.

With that in mind, is he worth $6.5 million? 

While Logan Paulsen played well in Davis' stead down the stretch, and while the 'Skins have limited space with which to work under the salary cap (currently, none), I don't think they can afford to give up on Davis. 

The 27-year-old was the team's leading receiver and had become Robert Griffin III's favorite target before he went down with that injury seven weeks into the season. He was on pace to set career highs in receptions and yards and was faring pretty well as a blocker. 

Ideally, they sign him to a long-term deal between now and March 4, which is the deadline for tagging. If that doesn't happen, they should tag him and hope that they can save some money for draft picks by ironing out that new deal with the extra time they've bought themselves. 

I personally think that's the best route to take, but I also get the feeling the team disagrees and will let Davis hit the market on March 12. 

Other potential (but far-fetched) tag candidates include 28-year-old guard Kory Lichtensteiger, 30-year-old cornerback Cedric Griffin and 30-year-old linebacker Lorenzo Alexander. All three should be on the roster next year, but the problem is that all play positions that aren't ideal in terms of the cost of the tag.

Cornerbacks are expensive, pass rushers inflate the tag number for linebackers and left tackles have the same effect on offensive linemen.