Blog Entry

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

Posted on: March 5, 2012 5:33 pm
Jackson's a big winner Monday, as he escaped the franchise tag like it was a defensive back. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

A record 21 players received a franchise tag in advance of Monday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, including six kicker-types. You can see everyone that got tagged at our 2012 NFL Franchise Tag Tracker. Let's break down the winners and losers below.


Vincent Jackson: Jackson held out most of 2010 because he wanted to get paid. He then signed his franchise-tag tender in 2011 because he wanted to get guaranteed money. Now that the Bolts declined to tag him, he's going to get filthy rich as one of the top two wide receivers to hit the free-agent market on March 13. Jackson and Marques Colston are the two top talents on a market that features several teams -- the Redskins, Rams, Jaguars, Vikings, and Seahawks, to name a few -- in need of a wideout.

Carl Nicks: Nicks reportedly hasn't heard anything on a new deal from the Saints and with New Orleans not reaching a deal with quarterback Drew Brees before the 4 p.m. ET deadline, Nicks is going to hit the open market on March 13. He's 26, a two-time Pro Bowler and made the All-Pro team in

Matt Flynn: Flynn wasn't expected to receive a tag from the Packers, but it's official now, and that means he'll hit the free-agent market. This is critical for Flynn given the number of quarterback-needy teams out there. It's also critical because the Packers won't control his next destination; if they tagged Flynn for the price of $14.4 million guaranteed (which he would sprint to sign), then they'd almost certainly end up trading him. Now Flynn gets to land a bigger contract on the open market.

Brandon Carr: The Chiefs decided to use their franchise tag on wideout Dwayne Bowe. That's a smart move, considering they signed cornerback Stanford Routt recently. But it also means that Carr, a 25-year-old defensive back coming off his best season in 2011, will have the chance to hit the open market. Young free-agent cornerbacks are a coveted commodity, and Carr should expect to get paid handsomely.

Stevie Johnson: The leverage of the guaranteed money involved with using the franchise tag on a wide receiver ($9.4 million) coupled with the deadline on Monday really escalated the talks with the Bills and Johnson, and he ended up netting a deal worth $7.25 million per year. That's not exactly on par with the highest-paid wide receivers in the NFL, but


Wes Welker: The Pats could very well end up getting Wes Welker signed to a long-term deal, but he can't be happy about being put in a situation that could have him not reaching full free agency until he turns 32 (he'll turn 31 in May of this offseason) if the Patriots simply want him to play another year on the franchise-tag value. Welker would've hit a market that paid him handsomely and it might be difficult for the Patriots to pay him the money he wants over longer period of time. We could see a holdout here.

New Orleans Saints: As if things weren't bad enough for the Saints -- see here, here, here, here, here and, whew, here -- they're likely going to lose their top wide receiver (Marques Colston) and one of their top offensive linemen (Nicks) to free agency. Their quarterback (Drew Brees) is not happy with his contract situation, and losing two weapons like that won't do much to improve his mood. So once they get done with BountyGate, there should be plenty of more fun to deal with.

Cliff Avril
: Detroit should be thrilled that they bring Avril back, but that doesn't mean the defensive end has to be happy. He's not, because he knows he'd kill on the open market this season. He'll get more than $10 million guaranteed next year and that's why it seemed possible that the Lions could let him walk -- they've got more than half their salary cap tied up in Avril, Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh and Calvin Johnson next year. So there's some good news: the Lions very much would like to lock up Avril to a long deal.

Houston Texans
: The Texans locked up Arian Foster to a five-year deal that takes him through his 30-year-old season, which is perfect timing for a running back. But it's also giving a lot of money to a running back. (Foster is a tremendously talented guy, a perfect fit for what the Texans do, a great pass-blocker, a great pass-catcher and many other things. But he is still a running back.) On that same day, they were unable to secure Mario Williams, who was their No. 1 pick in the 2006 NFL Draft. Super Mario will become a free agent, and unless he's willing to take a serious discount to stay with the Texans, it's hard to fathom how they keep him.

Pittsburgh Steelers: It seemed like the Steelers decision to go on a cutting spree and get below the salary-cap line would result in them using the franchise tag on Mike Wallace, who's a restricted free agent. They didn't and because of a confluence of events, they could be in trouble. One, Stevie got $7.2 million a year just now. Two, Jackson and Colston will get big money in free agency. And three, various tags on other high-profile wide receivers will draw more interest for teams that could consider giving Wallace an offer sheet. He may very well end up staying with the Steelers, but there's at least reason to be concerned.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.

Since: Nov 4, 2007
Posted on: March 7, 2012 8:18 am

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

Chiefs would have been big time winners if they could have gotten the long term deal done with Bowe, then tagged Carr and traded him.  They'll get the deal done with Bowe eventually anyway.

If Manning keeps playing, he may very well end up in KC.  He has the best chance to win there, right away.  One of the best running backs in the NFL (they'll be adding another as well, Tolbert, the Law Firm, ?), Bowe, Breaston and Baldwin, who I believe will become a star, especially if Manning is throwing to him.

Throw in McCluster, great young tight end and you have the makings of an explosive offense.  Chiefs will be very active in beefing up their O-line, Manning or not.

The defense.  Chiefs defense will be top three to five in AFC or even NFL, as it was in the last six games last year.  Crennel will see to that.

Lastly.........the division.  They walk into the playoffs.

Case closed.


Since: Sep 29, 2006
Posted on: March 7, 2012 7:57 am

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

Since: Aug 9, 2009
Posted on: March 6, 2012 6:06 pm

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

Add the Eagles to the list of losers.  And not just because they have never won a Super Bowl.  Or for the simple fact that they have the most obnoxious fan base on the planet.  But how about DeSean Jackson becoming the first player in NFL history to be overjoyed with having been slapped with the franchise tag.  Most players complain and threaten to hold out, yet Jackson can't wait to sign this one year deal as soon as possible before the Eagles take it away.  Why?  Because $9.5-million is probably all he'd get over three years if he were to hit the free agent market.  He is a cancer, and if the Eagles were smart they would've simply cut ties with him long ago.  Jackson playing out the last year of a contract again (while keeping one eye on his next deal when those erratic Vick passes are coming his way) is the best news the Cowboys, Giants, and Redskins could hope for.  Loserdelphia Eagles, World Champs 1960.

Since: Mar 15, 2011
Posted on: March 6, 2012 2:04 pm

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

Joe Montana played at an extremly high level in KC, he was a concusion in Bufalo duing the AFC championship game away from taking them to the Superbowl.  I believe Manning has 3 solid years left and will welcome him to the Chiefs and will be celebrating a superbowl victory this year.

Since: Mar 28, 2010
Posted on: March 6, 2012 9:32 am

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

Why would anyone want Jackson. He is a cry baby and a quitter.  Did you see the Oakland game last year where he absolutely gave up on a beautiful pass by Rivers for the TD.  He just watched it go over his head without even attempting to catch it.  It then sailed right into the arms of an Oakland defender.  The game was on the line and the TD could nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnhave won it for SD.  Notice how SD hasn;t done very much to keep him.  They played half a season without him and lost nothing offensively.  He is not that good.  His numbers are a result of Norvs offense and Rivers.

Since: Jul 20, 2010
Posted on: March 6, 2012 9:30 am

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

 I'd really like to see that team put to together....................share your meds please.

Since: Jul 2, 2009
Posted on: March 6, 2012 8:56 am

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

The Vikings were rumored to be offering the Chargers a package consisting of a 2011 second-round pick, as well as a conditional pick in the 2011 NFL draft, based upon whether or not the Vikings could sign Jackson to a long-term contract. The Chargers, apparently, wanted both Minnesota's second and third-round selections in the upcoming draft.

Anyone else remember this???

Nice move San Diego.  You sure showed them. 

Since: Jun 25, 2008
Posted on: March 6, 2012 1:01 am

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

correction....they better sign one of them!

Since: Jun 25, 2008
Posted on: March 6, 2012 1:01 am

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

The Bears better pursue one of these top free agent receivers (Jackson or Colston) or Im gonna be a pissed off Bear fan!!

Since: Feb 2, 2009
Posted on: March 5, 2012 10:40 pm

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

Although a crazy idea, Manning could also end up with Mike Wallace and Vincent Jackson lining up opposite of Wayne and Carl Nicks protecting his backside.  For a team with a ton of salary cap space and a desire to win TODAY, this could be a very scary scenario.
lay off the bong

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or