Michael Vick and 10 Tagged Players Who Could Still End Up as Free Agents
It’s safe to say that by the time the lockout was a reality—people directly involved in the NFL must have had some kind of feeling about which direction the negotiations were headed.
In panic, several teams franchise tagged one of their most valuable players shortly before the lockout was first put into action.
Reports came out two days ago concerning the negotiation process: "It's going to be very difficult for this to get screwed up," the source states according to CBS Sports. According to the report, the same, yet unnamed source has claimed that the negotiations are 80-85 percent completed.
What does this mean for the franchised players? There is a certain possibility that there won’t be a franchise tag in the new deal – therefore the tagged players could actually end up as free agents.
Here’s a list of great players that could end up as free agents right before our eyes.
Comments are always appreciated.
Vincent Jackson, Wide Receiver, San Diego Chargers
It seems like every time Vincent Jackson’s name is called it’s because he has just caught a missile from Philip Rivers deep down the field. His 17.7 yards per reception also indicates this.
V-Jax is in many ways what you want in your wide receiver. He runs good routes, is sure handed and is known to stretch the field.
He has emerged over the last three seasons as Philip Rivers’ favorite target and is getting recognized by more people by the minute that he actually is an elite receiver.
Although Jackson has experienced success as a part of a high powered Chargers offense, he has only been elected to one Pro Bowl (2009).
One can argue that he was snubbed when he did not make the Pro Bowl in 2008 when he posted over a 1,000 yards receiving and seven touchdowns. Additionally, he had a career high average per reception of 18.6 yards that season.
Jackson has had some trouble with the league. In 2010, he was suspended for three games for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.
The Chargers have been reluctant to pay him big money. At the same time, there must be several teams that would love to have a wide receiver of Jackson’s caliber on its roster.
He could for example have an amazing impact on the progress of a young quarterback entering the NFL.
LaMarr Woodley, Linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers has been known to have a dominant defense for a long time. LaMarr Woodley is one of the reasons why that tradition is still intact.
The pass-rushing monster has just posted three consecutive 10-plus sack seasons and is just about to enter the prime of his career.
Woodley is still just 26 years old, and will be showing no sign of slowing down any time soon. He is not the kind of linebacker that is going to wow you if you look at how many tackles he has per year – but one thing is certain – the offense is afraid when they go up against this guy.
When you consider that the Steelers seem content to pay him 10 million dollars per year by tagging him, the organization surely looks at him as the present and the future of the team’s defense.
It is undeniable—any team would like to have Woodley on its roster. Fortunately for the Steelers, the stud linebacker seems more than content to stay in Pittsburgh. After all—that is where he thrives.
Ryan Kalil, Center, Carolina Panthers
Ryan Kalil was not projected to go very high in the 2007 NFL Draft until he impressed scouts and coaches greatly at both the NFL Combine and the Senior Bowl.
After he skyrocketed up draft boards, the Panthers picked him in the second round. He started three games during his rookie campaign, but has been the undisputable starter at center for the Panthers ever since.
The 26-year-old is widely considered as one of the most talented young centers in the game today. He has already made two Pro Bowl appearances and more is still to come.
He was one of very few bright stories in Carolina last year, but If he actually becomes a free agent—there will be several teams wanting to have a look at him.
One of those teams that might have an interest in Kalil is the New York Giants. The Giants’ offensive line struggled with injuries last season and the members are showing signs that age is catching up with them.
Giants’ center, Shaun O’Hara would be the injury-plagued player that Kalil would replace. Ironically, Kalil was awarded O’Hara’s spot in the 2010 Pro Bowl when the Giant pulled out.
Peyton Manning, Quarterback, Indianapolis Colts
Let’s just face it; something very odd would need to go down in Indianapolis before Peyton Manning would even consider moving his game to another city.
It is highly likely that as soon as the lockout is lifted, the Colts will look to make Manning a very rich man. His new contract is expected to make him the most paid football player on the planet.
However, if the lockout is lifted and there is no franchise tag—Peyton Manning will be a free agent—at least until he signs the new contract.
There is not much to say about Peyton Manning that hasn’t been said before. He is arguably the very best quarterback of all times.
Peyton Manning and Tom Brady gave fans a brilliant showdown last decade, and fortunately for the sport, they will continue to do so for their respective teams in this decade, too.
Chad Greenway, Linebacker, Minnesota Vikings
It’s an understatement to say that Greenway’s NFL career got off to a slow start. During a preseason game in his first year in the league, he tore his ACL and lost the entire 2006 season.
He was back in action in 2007 and quickly claimed a starting spot for the Vikings, and he has been the starter at weak-side linebacker ever since.
Greenway is not really a household name. He is not flashy, and is overshadowed by other stars on the Vikings like Jared Allen and Adrian Peterson.
Although Greenway is not quite on the level of those two superstars, it would be incorrect to state that he does not get the job done.
He has turned into a tackle-machine and is coming off his best season yet. The linebacker posted 144 combined tackles in 2010 along with three pass deflections and a sack.
Many teams could use a player like Greenway if he became a free agent, but he seems happy to stay in Minnesota as he expressed no displeasure when he was tagged.
Logan Mankins, Guard, New England Patriots
Logan Mankins is one of the best reasons why Tom Brady is as good as he is year after year. He is simply a monster at that offensive line.
Mankins is in the prime of his career and the Patriots would hate to see him leave. He has started every game for New England since he was drafted in 2005.
He has done his job well in Massachusetts and has been elected to the Pro Bowl in three consecutive seasons. The standout guard was also elected All-Pro in both 2007 and 2010.
Simply put—he is one of—if not the most dominant player at his position in the NFL today.
Haloti Ngata, Defensive Tackle, Baltimore Ravens
From one superb lineman to another—Haloti Ngata is as good as they get. He has been elected to the Pro Bowl two times and he has earned two Second-team All-Pro honors.
One can say that he took his game to another level in 2010. His efforts on the field earned him First-team All-Pro honors.
No wonder he was honored last season. Offensive coordinators had no choice but to game plan against him if they wished to win their games against the Ravens.
If Ngata actually becomes a free agent, you can bet that John Fox will try to make a strong argument for why the dominant defensive tackle would love Denver.
Marcedes Lewis, Tight End, Jacksonville Jaguars
There are no one asking questions whether the Jacksonville Jaguars should do whatever it takes to keep Marcedes Lewis in town or not.
He is after all one of those players that make people visit the stadium in Jacksonville, and surely, the Jaguars needs those kind of players to be financially stable.
Earlier in his career, Lewis has been utilized as mostly a blocking tight end to help an otherwise relatively weak offensive line.
However, the team let him take the role of a receiver in 2010. What happened? He now holds the franchise record for receiving touchdowns in a season.
More and more teams are using tight ends these days to create mismatches in the passing game. If you watched a Patriots-game last season you’d understand why.
Because of that, there will be a monster market for Lewis if he becomes a free agent this season. Whichever teams he ends up playing for would have just signed or resigned a very good player.
Tamba Hali, Linebacker, Kansas City Chiefs
Tamba Hali is another pass-rushing monster. He was in fact the 2010 AFC sack champion with 14.5 sacks. He already has 41.5 sacks and 18 forced fumbles in 79 regular season appearances.
He has just entered what appears to be the prime of his career, so we believe there will be more to come.
It seems as if Hali will remain with the Chiefs even if he ends up as a free agent this year. According to the Kansas City Star, his agent stated that the sack artist wishes to retire in Kansas City.
He also stated that he looks positively at the franchise tag as Hali sees it as a sign that that the Chiefs wants to keep him too, and that they are hoping to sign a long term contract soon.
Although there seems to be a mutual interest in getting a long term deal signed, the Chiefs would undoubtedly get competition for Hali’s signature if he ended up as a free agent. He just made the Pro Bowl after all.
Michael Vick, Quarterback, Philadelphia Eagles
He is as fast as ever… He is as elusive as ever… He is as electrifying as ever – and all of a sudden – he’s accurate too!
Michael Vick is last, but certainly not least on this list. It is incredible how this superstar has fought his way back into the NFL.
No matter how much you despise him as a person – most people find it hard to despise him on the field. He is quite simply the most exciting thing to hit the football field in quite some time.
Andy Reid has done extraordinary things with this man’s talents. Michael Vick was always a brilliant scrambler, but who knew that he could be so effective in the pocket?
If the franchise tag ceases to exist, Vick and the Eagles are expected to head into negotiations immediately considering the impact he has on the NFC-East club.
At the first sign of any kind of holdup in the negotiations, we are certain there will be more than one team dialing Vick’s agent’s number.
However, when it’s all said and done, Michael Vick is very likely to remain an Eagle. He must certainly feel that he owes the organization a lot after the team took a chance to him and gave him his life back after prison.