Franchise tag season officially starts on Monday, February 20th. Teams have until March 5 to use their tag.
Last year, a record number of players were tagged. I’m predicting a new record will be set this year.
Barring a long-term extension before March 5, it would be stunning if these guys aren’t tagged. These are in no particular order.
1. Ray Rice, Ravens running back.
2. Matt Forte, Bears running back.
3. Calais Campbell, Cardinals defensive end.
4. Jermichael Finley, Packers tight end.
5. Drew Brees, Saints quarterback.
6. DeSean Jackson, Eagles wide receiver.
7. Fred Davis, Redskins tight end.
8. Brent Grimes, Falcons cornerback.
The next 11 players aren’t slam dunks to be franchised, but they made my cut. My total number of 19 players will surely be reduced when some players on this list get contracts before March 5.
9. Anthony Spencer, Cowboys linebacker.
10. Matt Prater, Broncos kicker.
11. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks running back.
12. Brandon Carr, Chiefs cornerback.
13. Wes Welker, Patriots wide receiver.
14. Sione Pouha, Jets nose tackle.
15. Dashon Goldson, 49ers safety.
16. Stevie Johnson, Bills wide receiver.
17. Josh Scobee, Jaguars kicker.
18. Cortland Finnegan, Titans cornerback.
19. Cliff Avril, Lions defensive end.
The Near Misses
Remember that I’m choosing what I think will happen, not what should happen. The following players will be considered for a tag, but I’m predicting they won’t be tagged.
1. Arian Foster, Texans running back.
2. Mike Wallace, Steelers wide receiver.
3. D’Qwell Jackson, Browns linebacker.
4. Michael Bush, Raiders running back.
5. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs wide receiver.
6. Robert Mathis, Colts defensive end.
7. Paul Soliai, Dolphins nose tackle.
8. Vincent Jackson, Chargers wide receiver.
Teams with no tag candidates
Here are the teams without any realistic tag candidates, just so you don’t think I forgot about you guys: Carolina, Cincinnati, Minnesota, New York Giants, St. Louis, and Tampa Bay.
Now is the part where you tell me why I’m an idiot below. You can check out this column if you want an overly long explanation of why I made all the choices above.