The Cleveland Browns May Finally Use the Franchise Tag After the 2009 Season

Daniel WolfSenior Writer IJuly 16, 2009

CLEVELAND - OCTOBER 13:  Braylon Edwards #17 of the Cleveland Browns celebrates on the field during the game against the New York Giants on October 13, 2008 at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by: Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Provided by Dawg Scooper

Since the Cleveland Browns returned to the NFL in 1999, they have not used the franchise tag on any player that has been on its roster.

The franchise tag was created in 1993 during the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the Players Association.

A franchise tag can be looked at in two different ways: it guarantees a player will stay with his current team for another season or it can be seen as a way a team can retain a player against his will because he wants to test the free agency waters.

Most of the time a franchised player will not really have a big issue with the tag mostly because he will be getting paid an average salary of the top five paid players at the same position, but some players are angered by the tag because they desire a long term contract.

A tagged player can loose some value the following season especially if he has a bad year statistically or gets injured during his tagged year.

Either way, a big pay check is involved and many more options of what to do with that player, regarding his future with the team, can be figured out with the franchise label.

The Browns are approaching a situation where it might be in their best interest to finally dust off the franchise tag and get ready to slap it on wide receiver Braylon Edwards after the 2009 season ends.

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Edwards is currently in the final year of his contract, and he is looking to hopefully get back to his 2007 form when he made the Pro Bowl.

Before the NFL Draft in April, there were many rumors flying around the NFL grapevine regarding Edwards getting traded away.

Unfortunately, the Browns upper management did not get a deal that included a first round draft pick, which they desired, and a trade did not get done.

Will Edwards still get traded before the trading deadline in week six this year?

It is possible because the injury bug could strike any star receiver and then their team will be forced to sacrifice a possible first round pick to help them contend through the 2009 season.

Only time will tell if that will even happen.

Still the Browns are in an interesting spot, and tagging Edwards at the end of 2009, gives them the opportunity to still shop him to other teams as long as another team is willing to pay Edwards the big bucks over a long term deal, which Edwards is looking to get.

The best thing for Edwards right now is to stay quiet, play some football and let his play speak for itself.

It doesn't matter who will be playing behind center, Brady Quinn or Derek Anderson, but watch out for Edwards in 2009, because he may just surprise a lot of people so that he can get his big payday in 2010.

Currently, franchise tagged wide receivers make over $9 million in one year.