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NFL Teams Place Eight Players with Franchise Tags

NFL Teams Place 8 Players with Franchise Tags

The National Football League announced on Monday that just eight players received the franchise tag from their respective clubs in 2013. Monday was the deadline for clubs to use either their franchise or transitional tags on players whose contracts expired. It was down from recent years that included an NFL-record 21 players receiving the franchise tag in 2012. This followed the 2011 offseason when 13 players received the franchise tag.

Photo – OT Branden Albert - Chiefs

The Eight Franchise Players (Value of one-year tender):
Buffalo Bills - Safety Jairus Byrd - $6.916 million
Chicago Bears - Defensive tackle Henry Melton - $8.45 million
Cincinnati Bengals - Defensive end Michael Johnson - $11.175 million
Dallas Cowboys - Linebacker/DE Anthony Spencer - $10.627 million (120% his 2012 tender)
Denver Broncos - Offensive tackle Ryan Clady - $9.828 million
Indianapolis Colts - Punter Pat McAfee - $2.977 million
Kansas City Chiefs - Offensive tackle Branden Albert - $9.828 million
Miami Dolphins - Defensive tackle Randy Starks - $8.45 million

The salary cap figures list Franchise non-exclusive tag. Non-exclusive players must be tendered a one-year deal no less than the listed amount for their position, which is determined by the average of the top five salaries at their position. With the non-exclusive tag, the current team has the right to match any offer or get two 1st round choices in return. An exclusive Franchise tag ties him to his current team at a higher but undetermined price for one season. Both sides can continue to negotiate on a longer deal even after a franchise tag has been applied.

NFL teams had until Monday March 4th to designate either franchise or transitional tags. The transition tag is created by averaging the top 10 salaries at one position. Seven of the nine players who played out the 2012 season under the franchise tag now have a clear path towards the free agent market.

The New England Patriots did not use a franchise tag on any of their potential free agents, which means wide receiver Wes Welker could test the market on March 12. The Patriots also elected to not use the tag on offensive tackle Sebastien Vollmer or cornerback Aqib Talib.

The Detroit Lions opted to not use a second tag on defensive end Cliff Avril, which would have cost the Lions $12.726 million in 2013, and the NFC champion San Francisco 49ers did not use a second tag on Pro Bowl safety Dashon Goldson.

Other players franchised in 2012 who were not tagged this year were Washington Redskins tight end Fred Davis, Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes, Cincinnati Bengals kicker Mike Nugent and Cleveland Browns kicker Phil Dawson. Davis, Grimes and Nugent finished the 2012 season on injured reserve.

The Baltimore Ravens avoided the use of the franchise tag by re-signing quarterback Joe Flacco, the top unrestricted free agent this offseason to a six year $120.8 million contract that included over $50 million in guaranteed money. The Chiefs avoided a second franchise tag for wide receiver Dwayne Bowe by re-signing the 2007 first-round pick to a five year extension.

Frank Coyle is a long time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards - Heisman, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi, Thorpe etc for the past 20 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does regular sports radio shows for CBS, ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year round basis related to College and NFL Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports and appeared on several CBS TV shows. He has worked for NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites over the past twenty years. He has been a player consultant for numerous player agents and has helped formulate their off and post season training programs related to the NFL Draft and Free Agency.