Kalil surprised at tag; plans to sign contract soon

Panthers center Ryan Kalil knows that centers don’t usually get designated franchise players.

“Been watching football a long time, never thought i’d see ‘franchise tag’ next to my name,” Kalil told Darin Gantt of the Rock Hill Herald.

Indeed, this is a rare occurrence.  Only one other center in NFL history has been given the franchise tag.  Perhaps that’s why Kalil seems so eager to sign the contract.

Adam Schefter of ESPN reports Kalil will sign his franchise tag soon.  This would lock in a salary of more than $10 million and is interesting because the NFLPA was previously trying to argue that teams didn’t have the right to use the tag.

That always seemed like a fairly transparent leverage play by the union, and they haven’t pursued the issue strongly.  Kalil signing his deal is would essentially be a confirmation from the players that they understand the franchise tag isn’t going anywhere in 2011.