Scott Pioli and the Kansas City Chiefs have done what many of us expected and placed the franchise tag on OLB Tamba Hali.
The franchise tag number for linebackers in 2011 is most likely going to be around $10 million. Hopefully this franchise tag means that his injuries are not severe and that a long term deal is in the works.
“Tamba is a key contributor to our football team, and we have a tremendous amount of respect for him both personally and professionally," General Manager Scott Pioli said. "We want Tamba to remain a member of the Chiefs, and we will continue to work together with the hope of reaching a long-term agreement."
As I discussed last week, Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reported that Hali was looking for a deal similar to the one signed by Dallas Cowboys LB DeMarcus Ware.
Ware was given a six-year, $78 million deal back in 2009. Ware received $40 million guaranteed and $45 million in the first three years.
Hali led the AFC with 14.5 sacks and was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2010.
In the last five years, Ware has 289 tackles, which is 70 more tackles than Hali in that same time period. Based on just one good season, Hali does not deserve a DeMarcus Ware-type of deal.
This move by the Chiefs to make Hali their franchise player guarantees him a one-year contract offer and effectively keeps him off the market.
However, as stated last week, as much as I would like for it to happen, I do not see Hali being signed to a long-term deal. At least not anytime soon. The Chiefs will either draft someone to groom and replace him after the 2011 season, or they will trade him at some point during the 2011 season for future draft picks.
The only way I do not see one of these scenarios happening is if Hali has another great year in 2011.
If that happens then I will agree that Hali deserves Ware-like money. Until that happens I just see this as a move to keep Hali, our best defensive player, on the team for one more year until Pioli can determine what to do with that position past 2011.