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Franchise Tag Watch

UPDATED: (please go to page two.  The updates are at the top of that page.)

The NFL’s deadline for teams to use their franchise tag is close of business today.  Already, some teams have used that tag while others are still trying to hammer out last second deals that would allow them to either avoid using the tag or use the tag on someone else.  At the same time, other teams are watching to see who will become free agents.  

Through out today, more news will likely require updates to some of these projections, they will be updated as need be and included in our final free agency look next week when we break down player by player, position by position and gauge the interest by the Miami Dolphins.

I have taken a look at what teams have used their franchise tags and what teams may lose key players to the free agent market along with what interest if any the Dolphins may or may not have as a result of it.  

Here are the monetary values of each franchise tag as it stands by position

Quarterback

Franchise: - $14.65m

Transition - $12.440m

Running Back
Franchise
$6.621m

Transition
$5.925m

Wide Receiver
Franchise
$9.884m

Transition
$8.393m

Tight End
Franchise
$4.462m

Transition
$4.065m

Offensive Linemen
Franchise
$8.451m

Transition
$7.744m

Kicker/Punter
Franchise
$2.483m

Transition
$2.264m

Defensive Tackle
Franchise
$6.058m

Transition
$5.45m

Defensive End
Franchise
$8.991m

Transition
$7.777m

Linebacker
Franchise
$8.304m

Transition
$7.480m

Safety
Franchise
$6.342m

Transition
$5.130m

Cornerback
Franchise
$9.957m

Transition
$8.374m

UPDATES AS OF 4:23PM Eastern

PIttsburgh Steelers – Tagged!

The Steelers have used their franchise tag on OT Max Starks.  Starks was expected to be one of the more sought after tackles in the free agent market with tag earlier of Carolina’s Jordan Gross.

What it means for the team:  

It’s an interesting development as Starks is not guaranteed a starting job next season.  The Steelers will either try and trade Starks if they feel that he will not be the starter, or they will have to commit almost 8.5 million this season to Starks.

For the Dolphins:  The Phins are prepared to let Vernon Carey hit the open market and will not franchise any of their players.  The issue with Starks being tagged is that there is one less viable option on the market.  With the tag of Starks however, Pittsburgh’s 5 year veteran CB Bryant McFadden will hit the market.  While the Phins have shown no interest VIA the rumor mill, it is still not out of the question that they may target a Corner or two.

Houston Texans – Tagged!

The Texans announced that they have tagged CB Dunta Robinson.  They will now focus their attentions to signing the CB to a longer deal.

What it means for the team:

The Texans have 19 restricted or unrestricted free agents that they will have to begin working on.  The free agent market is deep in talent this season so signing their own veterans is important.  The tagging of Robinson is the first step in securing the teams continued attempt at improving.

For the Dolphins:  Dunta Robinson was not likely heading to Miami as their are teams with more cap space and less needs then the Dolphins.

Seattle Seahawks – Tagged!

The Seahawks put the franchise tag on LB Leroy Hill.  Hill has started in 50 of 56 games played in his NFL career, and he finished third on the team with 81 tackles last season.  The Seahawks are not a deep rostered team on the defensive side of the ball so Hill became a priority.

What it means for the team:  

The Seahawks can now try and secure some depth at the LB position VIA FA and the draft.  It will allow them to concentrate on the other side of the ball as well, specifically WR where the team was depleted by injuries last season.

For the Dolphins:  Hill’s name has not been mentioned with Miami and has only been associated with a handful of rumors, but mostly those surrounded his resigning with the ‘Hawks.

 

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Baltimore Ravens – Tagged!

Terrel Suggs was deemed to important to allow to leave the team and used their franchise tag on the stellar DE.  Suggs’ tag means that the Ravens will have to try and sign their remaining free agents by next Friday.  

What it means to the team:

Ray Lewis is now set to become a free agent and already there are rumors that he could be headed to the NY Jets.  Jason Brown, the free agent center also will not be tagged and will hit the free agent market.

For the Dolphins:  If the rumors are true, Jason Brown can now be had.  It will be costly.  Brown is seeking to be the highest paid center in the league and that pricetag should put him around 8 million dollar a season mark along with around 14 million guaranteed on a 4 or 5 year deal.  The Dolphins likely have the interest in Brown but the cost may be too much to bear.

New England Patriots – Tagged!  

Matt Cassel not only received the franchise tag on the first day teams could use them, but he signed the one year deal a week later.  Cassel will not be guaranteed more money to ride the bench than starter Tom Brady.  

What it means to the team:

Cassel is the insurance policy to Tom’s recovery from knee injury.  It’s likely the team will try and trade Cassel prior to the start of training camp or the April draft.

For the Dolphins:  Nothing, the Phins will have no interest in trading with the Patriots.

Cincinnati Bengals – Tagged! 

The Bengals used their franchise tag on Shayne Graham their place-kicker.  

What it means to the team:

The tagging of their kicker means that WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh is now free to sign with another team.  Housh has been wanting out of Cincy for a few years although he has not publicly made issue with it or with the team.  He will not resign with the Bengals barring a large contract.  TJ is expected to seek a large multi-year deal this off-season but reports are that the other teams may be lukewarm to such a deal.

For the Dolphins:  If the Dolphins want to sign a veteran WR, then they have their opportunity.  Housh is just over 6 feet and weight 190, more of a possession receiver than a field stretcher, Housh could give the Phins a boost at the position long enough to let the youngsters develop.  The price may be the sticking point.

San Diego – Tagged!

The Chargers tagged RB Darren Sproles which could mean that the days of Ladanian Tomlinson are numbered.  The Chargers will now pay Sproles the top 5 percent salary at his position and one of those it that top 5 is LT.  Can they afford both?

What it means to the team:

For the Chargers, they retain a valuable running back who will back up LT should Tomlinson stay.  Many believe that Sproles is too small to be an every down back like LT is but the same was said about Michael Turner last year before he became a star in Atlanta.  It also means that they will likely lose starting center Jeremy Newberry and DL Igor Olshansky to free agency.

For the Dolphins:  If the Phins were watching to see what played out with Olshansky or Newberry then the tagging of Sproles will help them take a look at the value of those two.

Tampa Bay – Tagged!

The Buc’s used their franchise tag on WR Antonio Bryant who had a break-out year in Tampa last season.  Bryant’s tagging reduces an already weak WR free agent list.

What it means for the team:  The Buc’s will now have a little continuity at the position while they search for a franchise QB, something they don’t seem to have.  WR Michael Clayton who is a free agent will now likely hit the market.

For the Dolphins:  The Phins were recently rumored to be watching what happened with Bryant.  If the team had any interest, it’s gone now.

Arizona Cardinals – Tagged!

When the Card’s applied their tag to LB Karlos Dansby for the 2nd straight season, a collective sigh was heard from many Miami fans as Dansby was reportedly interested in seeing what could happen with the Phins.  

What it means for the team:

Dansby is a young super star in waiting.  Already a pro-bowl caliber player and one of the reasons the defense faired so well in the playoffs, Dansby will allow the Cards to concentrate on trying to get him locked up long term.  With the large deal given to Fitzgerald last season and the franchise amount this year to Dansby, the Cards may find it difficult to satisfy the want of WR Anquan Boldin and the financial status of the team may force the Cards to rethink their “we’re not trading Boldin” stance.  

For the Dolphins:  Not much.  Dansby was going to be high ticketed free agent and the Dolphins tend not spend the kind of money that he would be asking for on a LB.  While it’s nice to imagine Dansby a Dolphin, the truth is that the Phins would have likely been outbid.

St. Louis Rams – Tagged!

The Rams today used their tag on free safety OJ Otagwe.  Otagwe would have been a highly sought after free agent and it would not be surprising to see the youngster be looked at by a few teams who may be willing to part with 2 first rounders…although it’s unlikely that he signs anywhere else.

What it means for the team:

The Rams are team in serious transition and rebuild and now they must lock Otagwe up long term and build around him.  OJ is a very good free safety and could become one of the best in the NFL…but the team must get better first.

For the Dolphins:  If the team was hoping to land a new free safety the list just got shorter.  Otagwe would have been a nice addition and the Phins may have taken a long look at the guy.

Atlanta Falcons – Tagged!

The Falcons used their tag on punter Michael Koenen.  Koenen is a young guy with a strong leg, still it makes a person wonder why teams feel the need to franchise a specialist like a kicker.  

What it means for the team:

Overall, not much.  The tagging of a punter only secures him for one season and the Falcons will need to lock him up long term or will lose him next season.  

For the Dolphins:  Nothing

New York Giants – Tagged!

The Giants used their tag on RB Brandon Jacobs who was part of the Earth, Wind, and Fire trio last season.  For the Giants it’s a smart move as Jacobs would have certainly entertained offers on the FA market.

What it means for the team:

For the Giants it’s a sound move that will give them time to structure a long deal, it does however give RB Derek Ward the opportunity to hit the open market.  The team will still try and trade off WR Plaxico Burress but may find it hard with his legal issues still pending with the NFL Commissioner’s office.

For the Dolphins:  Not much as they are not expected to target any free agent RB’s.

 

Carolina Panthers – Tagged!

The Panthers today announced that they have used their franchise tag on DL Julius Peppers.  The announcment by NFL Networks’ Adam Schefter came on the heels of the teams announcement that they had resigned OT Jordan Gross to a record breaking 6 year deal that has 30 million front loaded over the first 3 years of the contract.

What it means for the team:

The Panthers needed to lock up Gross who would have left VIA free agency and the signing allowed them to use the tag on Peppers who still may be headed out of town.  Peppers has said that he will demand a trade if tagged and it’s likely he will do so now.  Peppers has stated that he will only accept a trade to 4 teams, one of which is Dallas.  2 others are in the NFC and one is in the AFC but not named.

For the Dolphins: Any interest in Peppers is all but gone as this regime will not send draft picks to any team for a player who will demand a large contract to go with it.  The Phins interest in either player is over.

Tennessee Titans – Tagged!

The Titans used their tag on TE Bo Scaife their leading receiver last season.  

What it means for the team:

Albert Haynesworth is set to become a free agent after his reps and the team faile to agree on a long term deal.  Haynesworth was franchised last year but signed his one year deal with the stipulation that the team could not use it again on him.  Al will be a huge impact signee for some NFL team and there are teams with a lot of cap space to throw money at him.

For the Dolphins:  The Dolphins would love to land a NT like Haynesworth but the cost will be way too much for the team, especially given the fact that they believe they can still get a year or maybe two out of Jason Ferguson.

Teams who have not used their tags but could lose some top talent:

Indianapolis Colts:  The Colts avoided having to use their tag on CB Kelvin Hayden when they signed him to a 43 million dollar deal today.  The Colts will not focus their attention to center Jeff Saturday who is set to become a free agent.  The Colts are also set to release WR Marvin Harrison who was due to earn over 3 million dollars this season.  Harrison will however likely resign with the team on a restructured deal.

For the Dolphins – Harrison is too old so there won’t be much interest there and his health has now become an issue.  Jeff Saturday is intriguing but over the age of 30 making him a less likely target as well.

Oakland RaidersNnamdi Asomugha was set to become a free agent after the Raiders decided against using their franchis tag on him.  Today, the team announced that they had signed the pro-bowl CB to a 3 year 45 million dollar extension that will keep him in Oakland.  According to NFL.com the deal breaks down like this.  The first two years, worth $28.5 million, are fully guaranteed. In the third year of the contract, if Oakland wants to keep Asomugha, it must pay him the average of the top five highest-paid quarterbacks in the game or $16.875 million — whichever is greater. If the Raiders fail to pick up the option, Asomugha will become a free agent, with Oakland not having the ability to tag him again.

Dallas Cowboys:  The Boyz’ don’t seem to have any player worth using their franchise tag on but that does not mean that they won’t try and tender guys like Miles Austin at the 2nd round level.  The Boyz’ are also dealing with what to do with DE Chris Canty as well.  Canty is set to be a free agent and it appears that according to rumors he may not be one for long.

For the Dolphins:  The Phins have interest in both Canty and Austin but regardless of what happens with Austin, the Dolphins would still have to trade for him and that may or may not happen depending on what the Phins have that the Cowboys want.  The Phins are not looking at moving draft picks.  The Phins interest in Canty however is well documented and the Phins may try and sign him on the first weekend of free agency.

Tags: 2009 NFL Franchised Players 2009 NFL Free Agency Franchise Tag Miami Dolphins