The Green Bay Packers have officially applied the franchise tag to defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, Adam Schefter of ESPN reported and the team later confirmed.
Although both sides have indicated they want to get a long-term deal done, the move to slap Pickett with the franchise tag had been expected in the short term.
“Ryan has been a good teammate and productive player for us on the field and also a good representative of the Packers in the community,” GM Ted Thompson said in the team’s statement. “We look forward to having him be a part of our future.”
Pickett didn’t collect a lot of statistics as the nose tackle in Dom Capers’ 3-4 defense, but his presence in the middle of the line made him arguably the most important player on a Packers defense that led the league in stopping the run.
Pickett is the third defensive tackle to get the franchise tag, after Vince Wilfork with the Patriots and Aubrayo Franklin with the 49ers. The Steelers also plan to use the franchise tag on nose tackle Casey Hampton.