Will the Baltimore Ravens put the franchise tag on Ed Reed?
In 2012, there were a total of 21 NFL teams that used the franchise tag. How many teams will use the tag in 2013? We will do our best to predict how many teams and which players are tagged by the league deadline, which is set for Monday March 4, 2013, at 4 p.m. ET.
We are aided in this presentation by already knowing that five teams have officially placed a franchise tag on players by the time this went to publication late Sunday evening.
What we don't know yet is the fate of the other 27 teams. But that's part of the intrigue. It is possible that another five or six teams could put the tag into play on Monday, which could include a surprise or two.
Baltimore is an example, as their long-term deal with Joe Flacco frees up the franchise tag to be applied to star safety Ed Reed. That is just one example of a last-second surprise that isn't out of the realm of possibility.
For each team slide, we will show a dollar figure that represents the last known salary cap figure for all 32 teams. These numbers are courtesy of a running feature last week on Pro Football Talk.
Quarterbacks are the best-paid franchise tag position by far.
Thanks to Buffalo Bills.com for listing the final updated numbers of what each position is scheduled to receive if a player is handed a franchise tag in 2013.
This update shows that there has been a minor degree of fine tuning that results in what the final numbers show by position.
Quarterback: $14.896 million
Running Back: $8.219 million
Wide Receiver: $10.537 million
Tight End: $6.066 million
Offensive Line: $9.828 million
Defensive Tackle: $8.450 million
Defensive End: $11.175 million
Linebacker: $9.619 million
Corner: $10.854 million
Safety: $6.916 million
Kicker/Punter: $2.977 million.
From a low to high rank, kickers and punters are the cheapest position to franchise, which is why you saw so many of them being franchised in 2011. Following them are tight end, safety, running back, defensive tackle, linebacker, offensive line, wide receiver, corner, defensive end and the highest-paid position, of course, is quarterback.
When you look at how the list is ranked by position, it is somewhat surprising to see what a small value running backs have in the league, compared to a corner or defensive end.
Greg Toler is one of the many Cardinals free agents who won't receive franchise tag.
The final 2013 salary cap number for all 32 NFL teams has been established to be $123 million.
The Arizona Cardinals are already at $123.5 million, and they haven't been very proactive at releasing any transactions or developments to show that they are well below that figure now.
So, with so little room to operate, there doesn't figure to be any free agent that the Cardinals will be giving their franchise tag to in 2013.
Therefore, the entire group of Arizona free agents will either receive a new deal prior to the start of free agency, or they will be allowed to test their value on the open market.
Cardinals Franchise Tag Prediction: will not be used.
Could William Moore receive a franchise tag?
The Atlanta Falcons made their big housecleaning move last week to get under the salary cap figure of $123 million by releasing RB Michael Turner, DB Dunta Robinson and DE John Abraham.
So now the Falcons have some room to breathe, but will they use the franchise tag on any of their free agents? The three most likely options are tackle Sam Baker and secondary members William Moore and Brent Grimes.
But a report by D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution states that with the new space, there simply isn't enough salary cap room to use the franchise tag in 2013.
Since Grimes already received the tag in 2012 and wound up getting hurt in the first game of the season, it is difficult, if not impossible, to give Grimes a raise based on less than one full game last year. Coming off of injury, his 2013 compensation should be considerably less than what he earned in 2012.
As for Moore, the Falcons will try to figure out by Monday afternoon's deadline where they are in negotiations with him and go from there. Moore graded out as the No. 18 safety for Pro Football Focus in 2012, with positive grades across the board.
Moore made four interceptions and forced two fumbles in 2012, so his ability to create turnovers would be missed if the Falcons decided to let him test his value in free agency.
Baker is a solid tackle, but due to the number of tackles in free agency this year, the Falcons will try to sign him for less. If not, there is a wealth of good tackles available in the 2013 draft.
Falcons Franchise Tag Prediction: The Falcons won't use the franchise tag in 2013.
Will Ed Reed get the franchise tag in 2013?
EDITOR'S UPDATE: The Ravens did not use the franchise tag today.
The Baltimore Ravens are hoping that their latest contract offer to Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco will be finalized sometime on Monday. Once Flacco has signed on the dotted line, the Ravens can then turn their attention to their other priorities, of which there are many.
Baltimore was listed at $102.1 million by Pro Football Talk, so how much of the available salary cap space will be consumed by Flacco in 2013?
The latest news on Flacco's contract was detailed via a tweet by Adam Kaplan, which lists Flacco's salary cap figure for 2013 as being a very manageable $6.8 million. Such a low figure gives the Ravens a realistic shot at giving the franchise tag to one of their veteran free agents.
The player who would seem to be a likely target for the franchise tag is safety Ed Reed. Reed has been an invaluable member of the Ravens defense, and with the retirement of Ray Lewis, Reed would be one of the key leaders of the defensive unit for 2013.
Reed is getting up there in age (34 years old), so how much longer does he want to continue playing? According to NFL insider Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, it doesn't sound like the Ravens have made much progress since the Super Bowl with trying to retain Reed:
Future Hall of Fame safety Ed Reed has not talked to the team about a new contract and is another free agent. Those sides could speak soon, and Reed is in the process of discussing signing with an agent after representing himself for the past few years.
If the Ravens don't have the financial room to tag Reed, it is very possible that he could get scooped up by a team like the New England Patriots or Denver Broncos for the tail end of Reed's great career.
Besides Reed, the other key free agents are linebackers Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger. Ellerbe will be taking over for Lewis, provided that the Ravens don't lose him in free agency.
Ravens Franchise Tag Prediction: The news on Flacco's 2013 salary cap hit makes it possible to envision the Ravens giving the franchise tag to Ed Reed.
UPDATE: Baltimore decided against using the franchise tag today, making Ed Reed, Dannell Ellerbe and Paul Kruger unrestricted free agents.
Jairus Byrd has played in two Pro Bowls so far in his career.
The Buffalo Bills haven't used the franchise tag since 2006, as the team prefers to try to work out a long-term deal with their best free agents first and use the franchise tag as a last resort. Signing wide receiver Steve Johnson to a contract extension last year was a prime example of that philosophy.
This year Buffalo didn't want to run the risk of losing their star safety Jairus Byrd to free agency, so they removed all doubt by giving Byrd the franchise tag on Friday. Byrd was considered to be the best safety on the free-agent market, so this move removes one key option from the other NFL teams looking for help in the secondary.
Byrd has stepped up the level of his game every year that he has been in the league. Pro Football Focus graded Byrd as the No. 2 safety in the NFL in 2012, which is a testament to how good he is. That follows his strong performance from 2011, when he finished the year ranked as the No. 3 safety in the NFL by Pro Football Focus.
When you rank in the top three of all players at your position for two years in a row, your team should do everything it possibly can to prevent you from walking away. Buffalo nipped any chances Byrd could leave by giving him the franchise tag. The Bills want to sign him to a long-term deal, and Byrd appears to be receptive to that as long as the offer is strong enough.
Bills fans are now waiting for word on how negotiations are going with guard Andy Levitre, who is considered as one of the best free-agent guard options this year in the market.
Bills Franchise Tag Prediction: Safety Jairus Byrd has already received the franchise tag.
The Panthers might have to release Chris Gamble to comply with the salary cap deadline.
The Carolina Panthers were at $127.1 million, according to Pro Football Talk. Being $4 million over the cap offers the Panthers no opportunity to apply the franchise tag to any of their free agents.
The Panthers are starting to make some progress on getting out from under the weight of their salary cap mess. The team released DE Ron Edwards, and tight end Greg Olsen and special teams player Haruki Nakamura have restructured their contracts to offer some salary cap relief.
CBS Charlotte reports that the Panthers are considering releasing CB Chris Gamble, who has a salary cap figure of $10.95 million in 2013. That would help to get the Panthers salary cap numbers to where they need to be, but it won't happen in time to allow Carolina to use the franchise tag on any of their free agents.
Panthers Franchise Tag Prediction: Due to salary cap issues, and the rationale that none of the free agents are worthy of the franchise tag compensation levels for their position, the Panthers will not use the franchise tag in 2013.
Chicago Bears gave the franchise tag to DT Henry Melton.
The Chicago Bears didn't want to take any chances on losing their key defensive tackle Henry Melton, so they opted to give him the franchise tag last week.
Melton will earn $8.45 million as a result of the tag. Prior to this move, the Bears were listed with a salary cap of $110.8 million, so they don't have very much room to operate unless they start releasing some veterans or restructuring some old contracts.
With Melton receiving the tag, teams that were in need of defensive tackles just lost one of the best players at that position of the free-agent options.
Bears Franchise Tag Prediction: Defensive Tackle Henry Melton received the franchise tag last week.
The Bengals gave defensive end Michael Johnson their franchise tag.
The Cincinnati Bengals were another team that had no problem last week in making up their minds about what they wanted to do with their franchise tag. They gave it to defensive end Michael Johnson, removing him as a potential target for other teams in free agency.
The Bengals could have easily placed the franchise tag on tackle Andre Smith, but they chose Johnson instead. That means that Cincinnati has the rest of this week to work out a deal with Smith or risk losing him to free agency.
Under the franchise tag, Johnson will earn $11.2 million in 2013. The Bengals came in to the 2013 offseason with the most salary cap space in the league at $65.6 million. So giving a portion to Johnson will reduce that surplus to a degree. Johnson had 11 sacks in 2012, so you could say that he earned $1 million per sack.
Bengals Franchise Tag Prediction: Cincinnati used the franchise tag last week on defensive end Michael Johnson.
The Browns may lose Phil Dawson to free agency.
The Cleveland Browns have plenty of salary cap space available with just $74.4 million committed so far. But since the Browns used the franchise tag on Phil Dawson for each of the last two seasons, Dawson is likely to be free to explore other options with teams around the league.
During the weeks that passed since Super Bowl XLVII, there hasn't been any dialogue involving one of Cleveland's upcoming free agents as being worthy of the franchise tag. That doesn't preclude the Browns from trying to reach long-term contracts with their own free agents; it just means they won't give one of them a franchise tag.
So where will the Browns use all of that surplus money? The latest agreement with the CBA forces the Browns to spend up to 89 percent of the $123 million cap (per Mike Florio from an episode of Pro Football Talk last week), so look for Cleveland to be players in free agency.
Browns Franchise Tag Prediction: Cleveland will not use the franchise tag in 2013.
Dallas doesn't have enough money left to franchise tag Anthony Spencer.
Editor's Update: Dallas has handed out the franchise tag to Anthony Spencer for the second-straight year. The news was delivered by Spencer's agent, Jordan Woy, via this Tweeter post. Since this is the second year in a row that Spencer got the franchise tag, his compensation shoots up to $10.6 million for 2013.
The Dallas Cowboys have been trying hard to free up space under the salary cap but still have a long way to go. Last week Pro Football Talk listed the Cowboys at $139.8 million, which is far above the cap.
In the past week, Dallas has reported new restructured deals with Miles Austin, DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten and Brandon Carr, which freed up over $21 million in salary cap space. In addition, the Cowboys have approached Jay Ratliff and Dan Connor to follow suit.
One of the key free agents for Dallas this year is Anthony Spencer. But the Cowboys don't have enough room to add Spencer and then negotiate with the other free agents that the team wants to bring back. As a result, it looks like Spencer will be allowed to see what the market wants to offer him in free agency.
The verdict is that although the Cowboys might want to use the tag to keep Spencer, the reality is that they don't have the ability to make it happen.
Cowboys Franchise Tag Prediction: Dallas will not use the franchise tag in 2013.
Update: Dallas released Gerald Sensabaugh on Monday, which freed up enough space under the salary cap to allow the team to franchise Anthony Spencer for the second straight year. This has to be considered a surprise, but is a reflection of how much the Cowboys value having Spencer on the team.
The Broncos gave their franchise tag to tackle Ryan Clady.
The Denver Broncos need to do everything necessary to protect Peyton Manning. The need to keep Manning safe and standing upright led to Denver's decision to give the franchise tag to tackle Ryan Clady last week.
Manning doesn't have to worry about his blind side, as Clady is viewed as one of the top five tackles in the game. Pro Football Focus ranked Clady as the No. 4 tackle in the NFL in 2012, based on his performance last year. How good was Clady in 2012? He gave up one sack all year.
When you realize that Clady earned only $3.5 million last year, the jump to franchise tag status will raise his compensation to $9.828 million in 2013. That represents more than a $6 million raise, which should make Clady very happy.
Broncos Franchise Tag Prediction: Tackle Ryan Clady was handed Denver's franchise tag last week.
It appears that Detroit will allow Gosder Cherilus to walk.
The Detroit Lions got burned in 2012 when they used their franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril. Avril collected $10.6 million last year, but the motivation from the new contract only led to 9.5 sacks. That's not a great return on the investment for the Lions.
As a result, Detroit will let Avril walk away in free agency, rather than give him the franchise tag again, which would mean paying him even more in 2013.
Detroit came in with $113.7 million against the salary cap, which gives the team about $10 million to work with. They have to try to sign free-agent safety Louis Delmas and find suitable replacements for Avril and tackle Gosder Cherilus.
Lions Franchise Tag Prediction: Detroit will not use the franchise tag in 2013.
Greg Jennings will likely be moving on in free agency.
The Green Bay Packers come into the offseason with a salary cap figure of $102.4 million, which gives them roughly $20 million to work with. That sum would be cut in half if the Packers decide to franchise wide receiver Greg Jennings.
According to this report from Mike Florio at Pro Football Talk, Jennings is looking for around $12 million per year in his new deal. Giving him the franchise tag would only pay Jennings $10.537 million, but it would limit what else the Packers could do in free agency to address other needs.
Between the projected loss of Jennings, Charles Woodson and Donald Driver, the Packers will undoubtedly be a much younger team in 2013.
Packers Franchise Tag Prediction: Green Bay will not use the franchise tag in 2013.
If the Texans don't give franchise tag to Glover Quin, they might lose him in free agency.
EDITOR'S UPDATE: A Twitter update from Nick Scurfield states that John McClain of the Houston Chronicle reports the Texans will not be using the franchise tag on Glover Quin today.
With $114.7 million already against the salary cap, there isn't much room left for the Houston Texans to consider giving any of their own free agents a franchise tag.
Paul Kuharsky of ESPN projected that the Texans might want to give the franchise tag to S Glover Quin. But, he reported that the Texans have even less cap space to work with, as he claimed the available money was down to $5.768 million above the cap.
That wouldn't even be enough to allow the team to give the cap to Quin, unless they released some players prior to the Monday deadline. Quin ranked No. 40 out of all safeties in the NFL by Pro Football Focus. That is a decent rank, but not one that screams "give him the franchise tag."
Connor Barwin will likely be gone in free agency, so once again the Texans will have to find a way to absorb these annual depth hits to their roster due to free-agency departures and keep rolling along.
Texans Franchise Tag Prediction: Due to limited room with regards to the salary cap, the Texans will not use the franchise tag. If they can create some salary cap space on Monday, they could give the franchise tag to Glover Quin.
Punter Pat McAfee received the franchise tag last week.
The Indianapolis Colts are another team that already figured out what they were going to do with their franchise tag last week, when the team gave it to punter Pat McAfee.
McAfee was rated as the third-best punter in the NFL last year by Pro Football Focus. He had a net of 40.9 yards per punt, which bailed the Colts out of some bad field-position scenarios in 2012.
Due to the economical rate for punters/kickers via the franchise tag at $2.977 million, this was an easy decision for the Colts to make.
Colts Franchise Tag Prediction: Punter Pat McAfee received the franchise tag from Indianapolis last week.
The Jaguars have no plans to tag CB Derek Cox.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have room under the salary cap to work with, at $95.7 million. Knowing that, are there any Jaguars free agents worthy of receiving the franchise tag?
The player that seems to be the most obvious candidate to consider for the tag is corner Derek Cox. Cox graded out as the No. 71 corner in 2012 by Pro Football Focus, which translates into "average."
But a tweet from Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times Union claims that Jaguars GM Dave Caldwell has no plans to tag Cox. So, with about $28 million available to spend, expect to see the Jaguars land a free agent or two later this month.
Jaguars Franchise Tag Prediction: Jacksonville will not use the franchise tag in 2013.
Dwayne Bowe figures to get the franchise tag on Monday.
EDITOR's UPDATE: Just prior to the 4:00 p.m. deadline, a Twitter update from Adam Schefter at ESPN states that the Chiefs signed Dwayne Bowe to a five-year contract extension. With Bowe under wraps, the Chiefs then exercised the franchise tag on tackle Branden Albert.
The Kansas City Chiefs will have to get creative if they decide they want to use their franchise tag in 2013.
As things stand, Kansas City is only $7.5 million under the salary cap, but to franchise tag wide receiver Dwayne Bowe would require $11.4 million. So where do the Chiefs come up with the extra $3.9 million?
One obvious place to target is DE Tyson Jackson. Jackson isn't nearly worth anything close to what he is scheduled to earn in 2013, which is $14.7 million. Jackson graded out as the No. 30 ranked defensive end (for 3-4 schemes) out of 34 possible players. It is one thing to be highly overpaid and it is another thing to be highly overpaid and not very good at the same time.
Releasing Jackson would make the most sense, as it allows the Chiefs to keep Bowe in the fold and gives newly acquired Alex Smith a No. 1 wide receiver to throw the ball to. In that sense, it is more like two steps forward for the Chiefs, as they keep Smith happy and rid themselves of a terrible contract.
Chiefs Franchise Tag Prediction: Dwayne Bowe will receive the franchise tag on Monday.
UPDATE: Kansas City signed Bowe to a new deal instead, and then placed the franchise tag on tackle Branden Albert.
Sean Smith will be allowed to test the free-agent market.
Editior's Update: Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports tweeted that the Dolphins gave the franchise tag to defensive tackle Randy Starks.
The Miami Dolphins seemingly had a number of options to use the franchise tag on in 2013, but closer examination reveals that there are flaws with every player the team has to consider.
Miami has a favorable salary cap scenario with just $78.2 million against the cap. With about $45 million left to spend, the Dolphins surely have enough money to make a splash in free agency. That will allow the team to re-stock their wide receivers, which is clearly a major concern.
As for free agents, Jake Long, Reggie Bush, Randy Starks, Sean Smith and Brian Hartline will either give the Dolphins a chance to make them a reasonable offer, or they will rush out to free agency and see what other teams are willing to pony up for them.
In the case of Long, he wants more money than he is worth to the Dolphins. Miami already has built-in replacements for Bush on the roster. The team wants to go out and land a top-tier wide receiver. A story by Ian Rapoport of NFL Network claims that there are a number of teams ready to talk to Smith once he hits free agency.
Starks was a $5 million salary cap hit according to Spotrac.com. That means that the Dolphins would be giving him a $3.450 million raise in 2013 if they gave him the franchise tag. Starks was graded as the No. 40 defensive tackle out of 85 by Pro Football Focus in 2012. Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote that if any of the Dolphins get the franchise tag, it will be Starks.
Dolphins Franchise Tag Prediction: Miami has the available money under the cap, but the team will decide not to use the franchise tag in 2013.
Update: The decision by Miami to give the franchise tag to Starks is somewhat of a surprise. He only performed at an average level in 2012, yet the Dolphins give him over a $3 million raise with the tag.
Phil Loadholt will have offers if the Vikings don't franchise him.
The Minnesota Vikings are at $108 million against the salary cap. With roughly $15 million available to spend, they would see the majority of that disappear if they decided to give the franchise tag to tackle Phil Loadholt.
Due to limited available space, the Vikings really don't have much choice other than to hold out hope that whatever they can afford to offer Loadholt will be enough to convince him to stay with the team.
For those wondering, Loadholt was ranked as the No. 22 tackle in the NFL in 2012 by Pro Football Focus. That gives Loadholt some degree of interest in free agency for other teams.
CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora tweeted that a number of players that seemed to be on the verge of receiving a franchise tag, would not be receiving one. Loadholt was one of the players he specifically mentioned.
Vikings Franchise Tag Prediction: Minnesota will not be using the franchise tag in 2013.
Sebastian Vollmer will be franchise tagged on Monday.
Decisions, decisions, decisions. That is the headline on Monday for the New England Patriots. Out of all of their free agents, there are three players that seem to be qualified for franchise tag consideration. Wes Welker, Aqib Talib and Sebastian Vollmer are the most logical choices.
Since Welker got the tag in 2012, it would require another bump in pay for the Patriots to be able to keep Tom Brady's No. 1 target. Even with the money that Brady saved the team in the upcoming salary cap due to his latest restructured deal, the Patriots could then risk losing tackle Vollmer in free agency.
If the Patriots decide to tag Vollmer, then they could lose Talib to another team in free agency. It just looks like they can only keep one of these three key veterans for sure. That would suggest that there is a decent chance that they could lose the other two. That would be a tough blow for the Patriots.
Patriots Franchise Tag Prediction: The Patriots will give tackle Sebastian Vollmer the franchise tag.
UPDATE: The New England Patriots did not use the franchise tag today. Unless they can re-sign Wes Welker, Sebastian Vollmer and Aqib Talib to new deals this week, they will all become unrestricted free agents.
Jermon Bushrod will not be given the franchise tag in 2013.
The New Orleans Saints had a major salary cap issue coming into the 2013 offseason. Their latest total was at $136.7 million, which was at least $13 million over the cap.
The Saints got busy and started restructuring deals to get below the salary cap. At least four players we know of so far have restructured contracts: Marques Colston, David Hawthorne, Jahri Evans and Ben Grubbs.
But all that did was get them under where they needed to be. They don't have any room right now to give tackle Jermon Bushrod a franchise tag but are willing to make an offer before free agency begins. A tweet from Albert Breer of NFL Network supports the claim that the Saints still want to sign Bushrod to a new deal.
As for the franchise tag, it will not be used in 2013 by the Saints.
Saints Franchise Tag Prediction: It won't be used this year by New Orleans.
Martellus Bennett will be allowed to test his value in free agency.
The New York Giants were listed at $115.2 million against the salary cap for 2013. The Giants were able to solve one major obstacle for 2013 when they signed free-agent tackle Will Beatty to a new deal. So, that leaves Martellus Bennett and Kenny Phillips as the other possible candidates for the Giants franchise tag.
In the cases of both Bennett and Phillips, there is a differing opinion about value. The franchise tag locks in the price for either player, but the Giants don't want to be on the hook for that much money for either player.
If New York can get either player to sign a deal for a number that the Giants are comfortable in paying, that would be great. If not, then both players will be allowed to see if they can find a better deal with another team.
Giants Franchise Tag Prediction: The Giants will not use their franchise tag in 2013.
The Jets have no choice but to let Dustin Keller test free agency.
The New York Jets have been dumping the contracts of expensive starters so that they are now able to get their salary cap figure down to $114.7 million. The transactions amounted to a savings of more than $27 million, but it still isn't enough of a cut to free up the room needed to give anybody a franchise tag.
All of the departures just mean that the Jets have to be prudent and economical in the way that they go about filling the openings that they just created.
Using the franchise tag on any of their free agents would not be the best way to use the little salary cap room that they have available to them.
As a result, free agents like Dustin Keller, Brandon Moore and Shonn Greene will be allowed to find out how much they are worth in free agency.
Jets Franchise Tag Prediction: The New York Jets will not use the franchise tag in 2013.
Richard Seymour will be playing somewhere else in 2013.
The Oakland Raiders have been very quiet during the 2013 offseason.
Oakland is still not all the way out of the woods from the salary cap fiasco that Reggie McKenzie inherited when he took over running the team. Oakland is listed at $122.4 million against the salary cap, which gives them no room for flexibility to present the franchise tag to any of their free-agent players.
Hopefully the Raiders will be able to turn the corner in the 2014 offseason, but McKenzie knew what he was getting himself into when he took the job.
Raiders Franchise Tag Prediction: Oakland will not use the franchise tag in 2013.
The Eagles will not use the franchise tag on Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
The Philadelphia Eagles have $94 million against the 2013 salary cap, so they have some room to either use the franchise tag or sign a player in free agency. The Eagles rolled $23 million over from the 2012 season, so that is giving the team some needed funds to add the players that Chip Kelly wants to employ for the upcoming year.
The Eagles haven't been sitting idly around. They cleaned house by releasing Demetress Bell, reworked a deal with Michael Vick and told Nnamdi Asomugha that he has to take a pay cut or he will be gone.
As for the Eagles' free agents—Derek Landri, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Jake Scott and Darryl Tapp—none of them appear to be in consideration for the franchise tag.
Eagles Franchise Tag Prediction: Philadelphia will not use the franchise tag in 2013.
William Gay returns to the Steelers.
The Pittsburgh Steelers brought back one of their old veterans to the team on Sunday when they signed free agent William Gay, if you consider the following Twitter dialogue to represent an official deal.
Prior to signing Gay, the Steelers were at $119.1 million, so they had very little room left to operate, much less to be able to give a free agent the franchise tag.
So, Gay comes back to the team, and they say goodbye to wide receiver Mike Wallace, who will surely be looking to sign a huge deal in free agency.
Steelers Franchise Tag Prediction: Pittsburgh will not use the franchise tag in 2013.
Louis Vasquez will be in demand if he doesn't get the franchise tag.
The San Diego Chargers salary cap figure is at $115.8 million, which doesn't even provide them with enough room to apply the franchise tag to guard Louis Vasquez.
Vasquez will be viewed as one of the top two free-agent guards available, along with Andy Levitre of the Buffalo Bills. The big money on the offensive line goes to tackles, not guards, so that makes it difficult for San Diego to tag Vasquez at $9.828 million.
San Diego has employed the franchise tag in the past to keep Vincent Jackson in town as long as they could. But for 2013, they just don't have the available salary cap room to make it work.
Chargers Franchise Tag Prediction: San Diego will not use the franchise tag in 2013.
Will Super Bowl XLVII have been the last time Goldson played for the 49ers?
The San Francisco 49ers were thought to have considered giving the franchise tag to Dashon Goldson again in 2013, just like they did in 2012. However, the latest reports circulating from San Francisco indicate that the 49ers have cooled off on paying Goldson 120 percent of what he made last year.
The other option is valuable special teams member/tight end Delanie Walker, but he doesn't generate enough offense to warrant the tight end franchise number of $6.066 million.
The end result is that the 49ers will have a week left to try to come up with an offer that is good enough to convince Goldson to remain with the team. As things stand now, San Francisco is at $125.4 million against the salary cap, so they will have to release some players or do some creative restructuring before they could ever sign Goldson or Walker to a new deal.
The trade of Alex Smith cleared $8.5 million of salary cap room for San Francisco, according to Matt Maiocco of CSN Bay Area.com. But since that trade can't become official until free agency begins, it doesn't do anything to help out the 49ers with the franchise tag now.
49ers Franchise Tag Prediction: San Francisco doesn't have the salary cap space to offer their franchise tag to anybody in 2013.
Steven Hauschka could wind up with the franchise tag on Monday.
The Seattle Seahawks are sitting there at $106.1 million against the salary cap. The team seems to have fewer holes that at any other time in recent memory, so things are looking up in Seattle.
With roughly $17 million available to spend, they might try to bring some of their own free agents back, but are any of them worth using the franchise tag on? The free agents are Alan Branch, Steven Hauschka, Leroy Hill, Jason Jones and Marcus Trufant.
From that group of free agents, the only one that might make sense to give the franchise tag to is kicker Hauschka. The figure for kickers is set at $2.977 million, so if the deadline comes and goes tomorrow, and the Seahawks don't extend the franchise tag to him, you then have a better idea of what they think he is worth.
Seahawks Franchise Tag Prediction: The only possibility for the tag is kicker Hauschka, but the prediction here is that Seattle won't use the tag.
Danny Amendola figures to be wearing a different uniform in 2013.
The St. Louis Rams are now down to $115 million against the 2013 salary cap figure, which means that they still have some room to add a replacement for Steven Jackson.
However, the limited salary cap space prevents the Rams from using the franchise tag on wide receiver Danny Amendola, so the team will have one week to try to sign him to a new contract or let him walk away.
Unless the Rams are prepared to release some veteran players on the deadline, the franchise tag doesn't appear to be in play for St. Louis this year.
Rams Franchise Tag Prediction: The franchise tag will not be used in 2013.
Michael Bennett won't be getting a franchise tag on Monday.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the financial room to use the franchise tag in 2013, since they are well positioned at just $90.4 million under the cap.
However, Tampa Bay general manager Mark Dominik was quoted in a tweet from Rick Stroud as not wanting to use the franchise tag on any of their current crop of free agents.
That does come about as something of a surprise, since defensive end Michael Bennett appears to be well-qualified for the franchise tag. Bennett led the Bucs in sacks in 2012 and Pro Football Focus ranked him as the No. 7 4-3 defensive end in the NFL in 2012.
Unless Dominik knows something that we don't, it appears that the team is prepared to allow Bennett to see what his market value is by letting him test the waters in free agency.
Buccaneers Franchise Tag Prediction: Mark Dominik doesn't want to use the franchise tag in 2013.
Is Jared Cook a tight end or a wide receiver?
Editor Update: Jim Wyatt tweeted Monday afternoon that the Titans and Jared Cook have reached an impasse. That implies that the two parties can't agree on whether or not Cook is a tight end or a wide receiver. Everything right now is in limbo.
The Tennessee Titans have an interesting development going on with tight end Jared Cook.
According to this article in The Tennessean by Jim Wyatt, the Titans will use the franchise tag on Jared Cook.
That part of the equation is understandable. Cook is talented and it thought to have plenty of upside potential that hasn't been realized yet.
Where things get trickier is determining what Cook's actual position is on the football field. Kareem Copeland of NFL.com wrote that Cook and his agents are prepared to show that Cook lines up more as a wide receiver than he does as a tight end. The NFLPA is also prepared to go to bat for Cook to back his claim that he is more of a wide receiver than he is a tight end.
It might require some sort of arbitration meeting to determine what his true position is. The outcome could result in Cook receiving a unique franchise tag dollar figure somewhere between tight end money ($6.066 million) and wide receiver money ($10.537 million).
If the Titans are concerned that tagging Cook could ultimately lead them to paying out several million more dollars, they could instead switch over and tag kicker Rob Bironas instead. That could still happen, but the more likely scenario is that the team doesn't want to lose Cook.
Titans Franchise Tag Prediction: Tennessee will put the franchise tag on Jared Cook.
Update: See the above note about the impasse. Situation wasn't resolved in time to beat the 4:00 p.m. deadline. Unless the Titans sign Cook to a new deal this week, he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The Redskins won't use franchise tag on Fred Davis two years in a row.
The Washington Redskins are another team that find themselves in a quandary, as Washington is at $124.9 million against the salary cap. That means the team has no room at all to give anybody a franchise tag, and the Redskins will probably be pretty quiet in free agency as well.
So, the team will need to some contract restructuring to free up some room to sign their draft picks in 2013.
Fred Davis was presented with the franchise tag last year, so this year he will not see the tag according to a story by Mike Jones of the Washington Post. When you consider how little production the Redskins received from Davis in 2012, why would you want to give him a raise on top of it?
Redskins Franchise Tag Prediction: Washington will not be using the franchise tag in 2013.
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