In a Saturday blog post entitled “Franchise tag makes no sense for Giants,” Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News cites multiple team and NFL sources to confirm that the Giants will not be using the franchise tag before the February 24 deadline.
No Giants player whose contract is expiring collected more than $1.776 million last season. The lowest non-kicker franchise number is expected to be roughly $7.3 million — for tight ends — and the G-Men haven’t deemed free agent tight end Kevin Boss worth that much.
Kicker Lawrence Tynes and punter Matt Dodge are both signed safely beyond 2011.
Other Giants free agents who might have an outside shot to be franchised include running back Ahmad Bradshaw, defensive end/linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka, wide receiver Steve Smith, and defensive tackle Barry Cofield.
But Kiwanuka is coming off a career-threatening neck injury. Assigning the tag to Bradshaw would give him an 850-percent raise on his 2010 salary of $1.101 million. Bradshaw has undergone at least four foot and ankle surgeries over the past two offseasons, and fumbled seven times last year. Cofield is rehabbing a surgically repaired shoulder after a 2010 microfracture knee procedure, and the Giants have a ready-made replacement in last year’s second-round pick, Linval Joseph. Smith had his own microfracture operation in December.
So the Giants join the Falcons, Saints, and Cowboys as teams that we know won’t be using a franchise tag in 2011.
Eight players have been tagged so far.