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Tag:2012 NFL Franchise Tags
Posted on: March 5, 2012 5:33 pm
 

2012 NFL Franchise Tags: Winners and losers

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.

Winners

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

Losers

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.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 4:18 pm
 

No franchise tag for Chargers WR Vincent Jackson

Jackson's time with Rivers might be at an end. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

Monday's 4 p.m. ET deadline for franchise came and went and Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson did not receive the franchise-tag designation, the team announced.

Jackson's arguably the top wideout on the market (though Marques Colston obviously has a case) but because the Chargers tagged him in 2011, another year would've been prohibitive, as the Chargers note it would have cost $13.7 million to franchise Jackson.

Now he'll hit the free-agent market, and he should get straight paid.

"We discussed it again this morning, and nothing changed," Chargers general manager A.J. Smith said Monday. "We did not like the franchise number, never did. Vincent will enter the market, and we will see what happens. We would like to have him continue on with us, but other teams now will enter the picture. We will now evaluate our contract proposal, and proceed accordingly."

The Chargers have stated repeatedly that they'd like Jackson back in 2012, and it's hard to blame them. Jackson recorded 1,000-plus yards in three of the past four years. The one year he didn't surpass 1,000 yards was in 2010, when a holdout and suspension resulted in him missing the first 11 games of the season.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 4:00 pm
 

Chiefs place franchise tag on wideout Dwayne Bowe

Bowe got the franchise tag from KC. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The Chiefs placed the franchise tag on wide receiver Dwayne Bowe on Monday afternoon, the team announced.

"Today was the league’s deadline to designate a franchise player and we felt it was in the best interest of the Kansas City Chiefs to place the tag on Dwayne," Chiefs GM Scott Pioli said in a statement released by the team.

Bowe was one of many top-flight wide receivers who could hit free agency; that group has dwindled significantly over the past few days with franchise tags applied and new contracts signed.

The Chiefs top pass-catcher the past few years, Bowe seemed like a lock to receive the franchise designation once KC signed free-agent cornerback Stanford Routt. This likely means that cornerback Brandon Carr is headed for a big payday in free agency if he doesn't sign a long-term deal with the Chiefs.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 3:24 pm
 

Anthony Spencer gets franchise tag from Cowboys

The NFL denied Harrison's appeal of his one-game suspension(Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

On Monday afternoon, the Cowboys officially placed the franchise tag on linebacker Anthony Spencer, the team announced. That means if Spencer signs the deal, he'll receive a one-year deal with a guaranteed $8.8 million in 2012.

As noted by our Cowboys Rapid Reporter Nick Eatman, the Cowboys "beat the NFL deadline to tag Spencer by nearly an hour." In other words, the Cowboys weren't locked into doing this like the Ravens were with Ray Rice.

Which is understandable: Spencer hasn't been entirely productive since the Cowboys drafted him with the 26th overall pick in the 2007 draft, recording just 21.5 sacks in that time. But he's a pass-rushing outside linebacker, and Dallas likely felt it would be difficult to retain or replace him. Spencer understands that, telling Eatman that it's a "good and bad thing" to get the franchise tag.

"That's a good thing and a bad thing," Spencer said. "It's good because it shows how much they think of me. But you don't want to be playing on a one-year contract. You want a longer deal and the security that gives your family. But hey, I understand. It's a business.''

Spencer would've attracted some interest on the market, for sure. And he'll probably attract some long-term interest from the Cowboys too: the Cowboys won't be thrilled at the idea of taking a cap hit of nearly $9 million.

And since Dallas until July 15 to work out a deal with Spencer, don't be surprised if they wait to see who they acquire in April's draft before deciding to pour money into such a deal.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 2:59 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:36 pm
 

Wes Welker franchise tagged by Patriots

Welker's been franchised by New England. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

At one point in time, it seemed like the Patriots might let wideout Wes Welker test the free-agency market. When it seemed like the market for Welker's services would be busy, that tone changed and according to our Patriots Rapid Reporter Greg A. Bedard, the Pats have officially decided to place the franchise tag on Welker.

Earlier on Monday, Bedard reported that Welker would receive the tag some time around Monday afternoon, so the news that Welker's been hit with the tag isn't a huge surprise.

"Wes Welker is a remarkable football player for our team and has been a vital component to our offense and special teams since we traded for him in 2007," the Patriots said in a statement released by the team. "Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal. Wes remains a contractual priority and we are hopeful that he will remain a Patriot for years to come."

The only issue for New England will be whether or not Welker's willing to sign his tender and play for a one-year contract that guarantees him $9.4 million.

As we've previously noted, Welker would very much like to receive longer deal that pays him in the same range as the other top wideouts in the NFL. Bedard points out that "both sides would prefer a multi-year contract."

The issue is whether or not the Patriots are willing to give Welker, who will turn 31-years-old in May, a deal that will carry him past the age of 35.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 1:21 pm
 

Safety Michael Griffin franchise tagged by Titans

Griffin, seen here tagging Lee Evans, got tagged himself on Monday. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The Tennessee Titans informed safety Michael Griffin that they would use their franchise tag on him, the team announced on Monday afternoon.

With the deadline for utilizing franchise tags (4 p.m. ET) fast approaching, the Titans faced a decision as to whether Griffin or cornerback Cortland Finnegan would receive the designation.

The team ultimately chose to tag Griffin, who will receive a guaranteed, one-year salary of $6.2 million if he signs his tender. Griffin's not always the most consistent player, but that's good value for a position that doesn't feature much available elite talent.

Griffin's the third safety to be tagged this offseason, with 49ers safety Dashon Goldson and Raiders safety Tyvon Branch already receiving the tag. (Keep up with all franchise tags by bookmarking our handy 2012 NFL Franchise Tag Tracker.)

Franchising Griffin means that Finnegan is likely to hit the open market; Aaron Wilson of Scout.com reports that the Titans and Finnegan haven't had any serious talks about a long-term deal.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 12:02 pm
Edited on: March 6, 2012 6:06 pm
 

Lions use franchise tag on Cliff Avril

Avril terrorized quarterbacks in 2011. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

The flurry of franchise-tag activity on Monday continued with the Lions locking up one of their more important defensive players, using the non-exclusive franchise tag on defensive end Cliff Avril.

As noted by our Lions Rapid Reporter John Kreger, Avril is guaranteed a one-year salary of $10.6 million now, but other teams may negotiate with the defensive end. If someone else offers Avril a contract, the Lions can either match or get two first-round picks in exchange from the team offering the contract.

There was some speculation that Avril would be unhappy with the franchise-tag designation, but he tweeted "#BLESSED" shortly after the news broke.

This is, as Kreger notes, the first time the Lions have used the franchise tag since 2007.

But utilizing the tag on Avril isn't all good news for Lions fans. As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free-Press notes, the Lions now have more than half of their 2012 salary cap tied up with just four players: Avril, Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford and Ndamukong Suh. Those are a good four players to have, but Detroit certainly needs to work on long-term contracts for Avril and Megatron.

The Lions now have, per franchise tag rules, until July 15 to negotiate a long-term deal with Avril.

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Posted on: March 5, 2012 11:32 am
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:03 pm
 

Kickers Prater, Scobee get tagged; Barth too?

It's kicker franchise tag day in the NFL! (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

For many teams in 2011, kickers were the most important players on the roster. Or, at least, the most important free-agent-to-be anyway. The Buccaneers, Jaguars and Broncos all qualify as teams with valuable kickers, and they've reportedly decided to franchise Connor Barth, Josh Scobee and Matt Prater, respectively.

Latest NFL News, Notes

Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union reports that Scobee will get the tag. Mike Klis of The Denver Post reports that Prater will get hit with the tag. And Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times notes that Barth will be the fifth kicker to get the tag.

The Jaguars have since confirmed that Scobee will receive the tag. But he's not happy about it.

"Josh is obviously disappointed in the choice to use the franchise tender," Scobee's agent Ken Harris told Ganguli. "While we have no plans of signing the tender at this point, we'll see if the long-term contract Josh deserves can eventually be reached."

The first two, naturally, were Mike Nugent of the Bengals and Phil Dawson of the Browns. (You would know this if you'd already bookmarked our franchise-tag tracker.)

Dawson was tagged last year, so he'll make $3.8 million in 2012. The rest of the kickers stand to make about $2.6 million in 2012 as guys who were tagged and receive a one-year, guaranteed contract from their respective teams.

And Prater is official now as well, with John Elway announcing the news on Twitter. (Where else, right?)

"Placing the franchise tag on Matt Prater ensures that he'll be a Bronco in 2012," Elway tweeted. "Matt's a very talented kicker & important part of our team. This gives us the ability to continue working on a long-term agreement."

Barth could be the fifth kicker tagged, but he has not yet been given that designation. There have only been reports that he could be tagged by the 4 p.m. ET deadline.

Scobee was outstanding in 2011, hitting on 92 percent of his field goals, including five of six from 50 yards or more. Barth hit two of three from 50 yards or more and also hit 92.9 percent of all his field goals. Prater only hit 76 percent of his field goals, but knocked down three of four from 50 or more yards, including a pair against the Bears that helped launch Tebowmania into the stratosphere.

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