Tag:Franchise Tag
Posted on: March 2, 2012 9:12 pm

Bears use franchise tag on RB Matt Forte

Follow all the latest news with our Franchise Tag Tracker (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Other than the Browns' decision to franchise 37-year-old kicker Phil Dawson, there weren't any real surprises Friday. That didn't change when the Bears tagged running back Matt Forte, who's now in line to make $7.7 million in 2012 under the designation.

The Bears' former second-round pick missed the final month of the season with a knee injury, but the organization had no plans to let him hit free agency. In February, team president Ted Phillips said, "We'd like to (work out a long-term deal). But as (new GM) Phil (Emery) pointed out we obviously will at least consider placing the franchise tag on him. We don't have any intention of letting Matt hit the open market. We'll sit down with him privately, Phil will, and discuss what the plans are prior to the Feb. 20 franchise tag date."

And that's exactly what happened.

Forte's response to Phillips' comments above? "It depends on the motive of (the franchise tag). If they are doing the franchise tag just to get more time in order to negotiate a long-term deal, then I would be OK with it. But if it's just to hold me another year and just, 'Let's throw some money at him right now to keep him quiet,' that's not going to solve anything."

So what happens now? Players can sign their tenders at any point between March 13 and July 16, the deadline for reaching a multi-year extension.

"Matt is an important part of our football team and we chose to utilize the franchise tag to ensure he remains a Bear," general manager Phil Emery said. "We believe in Matt as a player and a person. Our intention is to continue to work to find common ground and keep Matt as a member of the Chicago Bears in 2012 and beyond."

Despite the late-season injury, Forte became the first Bears running back to be named to a Pro Bowl since Neal Anderson in 1991. In four seasons, Forte has rushed for 4,233 yards on 1,014 carries (4.2 YPC) and scored 21 touchdowns. He's a important cog in Chicago's offense because of his versatility as a runner and a pass-catcher.

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Posted on: March 1, 2012 5:30 pm
Edited on: March 1, 2012 5:46 pm

Report: Raiders will franchise Tyvon Branch

This means RB Michael Bush could be headed for free agency. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

The Raiders have informed safety Tyvon Branch that he will be franchised, the NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reported Thursday. Branch was the Raiders' leading tackler in 2011 and if the organization does tag him it will mean that running back Michael Bush, at one time thought to be a franchise-tag option, will hit free agency unless the team re-signs him (Bush was fifth in our Eye on Football free-agent RB rankings).

As CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Eric Gilmore explains, Branch can expect to earn $6.2 million under the franchise tag, which is $2.2 million below the going rate for franchised safeties in 2011. The new collective bargaining agreement comes with a new formula for determining the position-by-position tag value.

Branch was selected in the fourth round of the 2008 draft out of Connecticut. In related news: he ran a 4.31 40 at the combine. (We were shocked too.) His pre-draft scouting report explains how the college cornerback ended up as an NFL safety:

"Despite his impressive 40 time and success as a kick returner, Branch struggles changing directions. An instinctive, physical defensive back, Branch is best suited to playing cornerback in a two-deep scheme or making the transition to free safety."

Turns out, it was the right move. Branch has started every game since 2009, and had 109 tackles, four passes defended, a sack and an interception last season.  And CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco writes that Branch "should have been on the Pro Bowl team last year. He had an impressive season at a weak position in the NFL. It makes sense for the Raiders to keep him."

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 11:11 am

Report: Matt Prater 'likely' to get Broncos tag

Britton Colquitt is VERY excited about Prater staying in Denver. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

We spent an inordinate amount of time putting together a list of players likely to receive franchise tags this offseason earlier today and, of course, we forgot someone. But it wasn't necessarily an obvious name: the Broncos are reportedly "likely" to use their franchise tag on kicker Matt Prater.

That's according to Mike Klis of the Denver Post, who writes that it "wouldn't be surprising" if the Broncos used their franchise tag on Prater in order to keep him from hitting the market and pay him a guaranteed salary of $2.6 million.

Prater was pretty stout in 2011, hitting 76 percent of his field goal attempts, including three of four from beyond 50 yards.

His accuracy inside the 40-49 yard range -- just three of seven -- left something to be desired. But his big leg saved the Broncos more than once and he helped get Tim Tebow's legacy really cranked up. (Don't worry: the Big Guy gives it up for Prater.)

If the Broncos franchise Prater, it'll be the first time they've used the tag on a kicker in 10 years, as they hit Jason Elam with the franchise tag in 2002.

And lest you think that franchise-tagging a kicker signifies a team on the decline, the Broncos actually made the playoffs in 2003, 2004 and 2005

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Posted on: February 24, 2011 2:19 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2011 2:23 pm

Raiders flip flop, hit Wimbley with franchise tag

Posted by Will Brinson

Things were going a little TOO well for the Oakland Raiders, weren't they? Well, there's a familiar air of normal oddity floating out of the Bay Thursday, as it appears the Raiders have reversed course on their decision to franchise tight end Zach Miller and are applying the tag to linebacker Kamerion Wimbley

That's because the Raiders apparently made a little boo-boo with Wimbley's contract -- as we previously mentioned, the final buy-back year of his contract was in jeopardy because of some mathematical folly.

Now Adam Caplan of FOX Sports reports that the Raiders have decided to franchise Wimbley, which means that instead of buying back the final year of his rookie contract at $3.5 million, the Raiders will pay him more than $10 million for the 2011 season.

Wimbley's a very good player, but is he worthy of being paid an average of the top-five salaries at his position? Um, no. And that could mean that the Raiders are interested in pursuing a long-term deal with him -- though they've now done a pretty poor job of establishing a baseline for negotiations.

And there's the issue of what to do with Miller if they want to keep both players through at least 2011. They can either seek to sign him to a long-term deal at this point, or use the same RFA tag the Panthers are reportedly popping on DeAngelo Williams and Charles Johnson to at least squat on his rights for the time being.

Either way, everyone can sleep normally knowing that things are getting dysfunctional with Oakland once again.

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Posted on: February 15, 2011 4:32 pm

Ravens place franchise tag on DT Haloti Ngata

Posted by Will Brinson

Thanks to the contract Washington handed Albert Haynesworth (among others), 2011 is an expensive year to apply the franchise tag on a defensive tackle. But the Ravens don't seem to mind (for the moment), used their tag on Haloti Ngata.

The team announced the news on Tuesday afternoon via their official Twitter feed and also noted that "signing the two-time Pro Bowler long-term has been a top priority."

[Related: Franchise Tag Tracker]

Ngata, a dominant force on the Ravens' defensive line, registered 65 total tackles and 5.5 sacks in 2010. He now stands to make upwards of $12.50 million, which is a significant jump from the $7 million-ish that franchised defensive tackles made last season.

It's unsurprising that they used the tag -- it had been reported they would for some time now -- though, because Ngata is such a critical component of their defense.

Labor issues loom, of course, but expect the Ravens to lock Ngata up to a longer deal once the league gets pointed in the right direction again.

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Posted on: February 15, 2011 1:53 pm

Vincent Jackson gets franchised by Chargers

Posted by Will Brinson

The franchise tags are just rolling in these days -- and you should keep up with our helpful Franchise Tag Tracker -- and Vincent Jackson's the latest guy told, "You're it."

The Chargers announced on Tuesday afternoon that they were designating the non-exclusive franchise tag.

"Vincent has been a valuable contributor to our team," said general manager A.J. Smith. "We want him to be a Charger."

People will probably think this is a disaster in the making because of Jackson's relationship with Smith, but it's not as bad as one might guess. After all, Jackson will now make north of $10 million a year just for 2011 (if it's played), and still has a chance to land a multi-year deal.

It's unlikely, but if someone offers Jackson another offer, the Chargers can either match the deal or receive two first-rounders in return.

Jackson's talented, but it would be surprising to see someone cough up a ton of money and the picks for him, particularly with the current labor strife (he can't be signed anyway right now and probably won't sign his franchise tag).

Then there's the uncertainty of the franchise tag surviving a new labor deal -- if it doesn't, that clearly changes things. If it does, Jackson can either work out a long-term deal with the Bolts or play one more season at $10 million in a high-octane offense and assume at some point the Chargers will stop paying him huge money for one-year deals.

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Posted on: February 15, 2011 10:21 am
Edited on: February 24, 2011 4:45 pm

Franchise Tag Tracker: Who's your team holding?

Posted by Will Brinson

CBSSports.com's NFL columnist Pete Prisco already broke down who's expected to get the franchise tag from each team in the NFL. We're here to make sure you know exactly who DID get tagged, with our Franchise Tag Tracker. Tag salary numbers are the average of the top-five at each position for the franchise tag -- or 120 percent of last year's salary, whichever is greater -- and top-10 at each position for the transition tag. 

Team Franchise Tag Tag Salary Analysis

Logan Mankins, LG $10.73 million Mankins probably isn't thrilled by the designation -- he held out much of 2010 in a contract dispute. But at least now he'll be making "market value." For the Pats, they get to keep one of the best guards in the league, and are at least placating his camp with the possibility of a long-term deal.

Michael Vick, QB $17.10 million Getting Vick locked onto 2011's roster was priority numero uno in Philly. The tag, though expensive, gives the Eagles options on their long-term plans with No. 7 and Kevin Kolb, at least for the moment.

David Harris, LB $10.19 million Defense is kind of a big deal for the Jets, and since Harris was their leading tackler and made just $550K last year, getting him paid is crucial. But the Jets won't do a long-term deal without a new CBA so this will suffice for the moment.

Vincent Jackson, WR
$11.93 million

Here's another guy who's probably just thrilled to be franchised. Given what he made in 2010 combined with a hefty tag, V-Jax is a steal for the Bolts. He won't necessarily be thrilled without long-term security but at least he's getting paid like he wants to for a season.

Haloti Ngata, DT $12.38 million The Ravens want to get Ngata locked down, but they have some interesting history of double-franchising players before they do that. Ngata's price -- heavily inflated by big DT deals last year -- might not make that as feasible though.

Peyton Manning, QB $23.12 million Same as it ever was: the Colts tagged Manning in 2004 to make sure they could extend long-term contract negotiations and that's what's going on here. Price tag might as well be "infinity."

Kamerion Wimbley, LB $10.19 million Oakland originally appeared to be franchising TE Zach Miller, but when the final year of Wimbley's deal voided, they bailed and ended up giving the linebacker a $6 million raise from what his buy-back clause should have been.

Tamba Hali, LB $10.19 million
Hali's breakout season meant he was a top priority for KC, but the general feeling is that this is a "true" franchise-tagging in that both sides want to make a long-term deal happen ASAP.

LaMarr Woodley, LB
$10.19 million

Woodley finished the final year of his rookie contract in strong fashion, recording 50 tackles, 10 sacks and two picks. The Steelers seem likely to lock him down for a while, but this was certainly expected.

Chad Greenway, LB $10.19 million Minnesota tagging Greenway is particularly interesting because it means Sidney Rice isn't guaranteed to stay on the roster. That's not to say Greenway's a bad choice, just that the courtship of Rice by other teams should be fun to watch.

Ryan Kalil, C $10.51 million The Panthers not tagging DeAngelo Williams will surprise some, but Khalil probably presents the most irreplaceable value for Carolina if he hits free agency. Jonathan Stewart's on the roster and the Panthers think they can reach a deal with DE Charles Johnson. Khalil would have drummed up a ton of interest on the market.

Phil Dawson, K $3.26 million There will be jokes and jokes and jokes made about franchising a kicker, especially in Cleveland. But it's not as bad as it seems -- they just don't have anyone good in a contract year.

Marcedes Lewis, TE
$7.26 million

Lewis and the Jaguars are reportedly both interested in a long-term deal, so there's a good chance we're talking about a new price for the tight end by the time the CBA ends March 4. Either way, he's in Jacksonville next year.

Paul Soliai, DT
$12.38 million

Posted on: February 15, 2011 9:18 am
Edited on: February 15, 2011 9:36 am

Eagles place franchise tag on Michael Vick

Posted by Will Brinson

The Eagles took an official step to ensure -- for now -- that Michael Vick will return as their starting quarterback when the 2011 starts, placing the franchise tag on the 2010 Comeback Player of the Year.

Philadelphia also placed the transition tag on kicker David Akers.

"Michael Vick and David Akers were two of our most valuable players last year," said head coach Andy Reid in a team statement. "They were well deserving of their Pro Bowl berths and we're happy to take this step to ensure that they'll be back in Philadelphia next season."

It wasn't unsurprising to see the Eagles tag Vick -- it had been previously reported that they would do so. Vick's situation is a tricky one in that his original two-year deal with Philly is up and his strong play in 2010 warranted a serious upgrade in pay. However, handing him a long-term deal without confirming that -- as our own Pete Prisco pointed out -- he can a) stay healthy, b) play at an elite level and c) stay out of trouble for another year seems pretty silly.

The Eagles also have trade target Kevin Kolb under contract for a very modest amount, so there's some room to gamble, especially given how desperate teams seem for their backup.

Vick's franchise tag number isn't official, but he'll receive an average of the top-five quarterback salaries, meaning he's likely to get just over $17 million for the 2011 season.

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