NFL Franchise Tags: Who Has Been Tagged So Far, and What This Means
Michael Vick has been franchised by the Philadelphia Eagles. This is the week teams can place a franchise tag on one of their free agents, but few have exercised that option so far.
The last day teams can do this is Friday.
While Vick is happy he's been tagged, Patriots offensive lineman Logan Mankins reportedly is not.
Each team has their own reasons for tagging certain players, so we will go through each team that has tagged a player so far, and examine what it means for that player and team.
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Michael Vick got franchised by the Eagles in a move everyone was expecting.
For Vick, this is really good news because it means he's going to get paid a large contract in 2011, no matter what. (We assume labor peace because we are eternal optimists.)
Vick is now the unquestioned starting quarterback for the Eagles in 2011 and the Eagles now have to decide what they're going to do with Kevin Kolb. Kolb's contract is club-friendly, so they may keep him as an insurance policy.
However, Kolb is worth a lot on the market right now. The Eagles would be foolish not to consider trade offers for their backup quarterback. Kolb could be the starter on just about any team in the league, and any team wanting his services needs a starting quarterback.
That means big returns for the Eagles.
What the Eagles do with Kolb is as big of a story as how much they end up paying Vick.
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The Colts said they were ready to make Peyton Manning the richest quarterback in the league.
The deal isn't finished and the deadline for tagging a player is Friday, so the Colts gave Manning an exclusive rights tag, meaning he can't even go out and talk to other teams about a contract once a new CBA is signed.
The Colts did this last time before signing Manning to a $99 million contract, so this is just business as usual with the Colts.
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The Patriots were the first team this season to use the franchise tag on a player. In this case, it's a bargaining tool.
Mankins reportedly wanted to see what he was worth on the open market, but the Patriots now have short-circuited that process with the tag. While Mankins still can negotiate with other teams, those teams would have to forfeit two first-round picks to the Patriots if they sign Mankins.
That pretty much ends any conversation right there.
Mankins wants a long-term deal, but the two sides have not been able to come to an agreement. Mankins is stuck in New England for at least one more year.
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The Jets franchised linebacker David Harris. With all the free agents the Jets have to deal with this offseason, they had to choose one to franchise.
Harris is part of the Jets' core on defense and they have no intention of seeing him go anywhere else. Harris is fine with the tag because both sides see it as part of the process.
The Jets have not been able to come to a new agreement with Harris to this point, and with the labor deal set to expire, the Jets are just covering their bases. Expect this tag to be a precursor to a long-term deal.
The Jets have a bunch of other free-agent problems, and this tag just allows them to focus on other things until there is a new labor agreement.
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Haloti Ngata hasn't been tagged as of Tuesday afternoon, but he is expected to be tagged by the Friday deadline.
Ngata is one of the Ravens' best defensive lineman and someone every opposing quarterback has to keep their eye on.
Like the Jets and Harris, a tag on Ngata would just be part of the process of signing him to a long-term contract.
According to an ESPN report in their rumors section, they believe the foundation of a new deal already has been worked out and the two sides are just waiting for a new CBA to be signed before finishing the deal.
The franchise tag would keep other teams from trying to steal Ngata out from under the Ravens with a deal he couldn't refuse.
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The Steelers are expected to tag LaMarr Woodley by Friday before signing him to a long-term deal once a new CBA is signed.
The Steelers don't traditionally do a lot in free agency, but they are interested in keeping the players they develop, and if tagging Woodley helps keep him in Pittsburgh before signing a longer deal, that's what Pittsburgh will do.
Given the Steelers' success, you just don't argue with the front office and what they decide to do.
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Tamba Hali had a great 2010, and it was a good year for him to get so much attention because his contract is up.
The Chiefs reportedly will tag Hali by week's end. They want to sign him to a long-term contract, but there is no guarantee in this situation.
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Vincent Jackson didn't like his tender last year and held out most of the season as a result. The Chargers tagged Jackson Tuesday afternoon.
A tag on Jackson is estimated to be worth a little more than $10 million in the upcoming season, so Jackson stands to make a lot of money even if he doesn't get the long-term contract he's been looking for.
However, a good 2011 season would go a long way towards Jackson getting the contract he desires.
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The Vikings reportedly may tag Sidney Rice before Friday as well.
Rice is their best receiver, and with all the questions at quarterback, the team understandably wants to make sure there are some quality receivers on the team for whoever is behind center to throw to.
Rice may want to get out of Minnesota because of the turmoil and transition, but by applying the tag, the Vikings get at least one more year out of their best receiver and hopefully sign him to a long-term deal before 2012.
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As of Tuesday afternoon, no other teams are rumored to be exercising a franchise tag option.
That could change, but NFL.com is reporting the Seahawks won't use theirs, and neither will the Cowboys, Falcons or Saints.
With so much labor uncertainty, the franchise tags may be meaningless under a new deal. As long as they are there, though, some teams will use them.