Way back on February 16th, before the Steelers released half their roster, PFT previewed franchise tag season.
With just a couple days to go before Monday’s deadline to apply the tag, I wanted to take a look back at where things stand. The initial projection had 19 tags applied, a record number.
Now it looks like we could hit 20 or more. Here’s what was predicted, and what has happened since.
1. Ray Rice, Ravens running back. (Received the franchise tag.)
2. Matt Forte, Bears running back. (Received the franchise tag.)
3. Calais Campbell, Cardinals defensive end. (Received the franchise tag.)
4. Jermichael Finley, Packers tight end. (Signed a two-year contract.)
5. Drew Brees, Saints quarterback. (Looks headed for a very good, not great, franchise tag number.)
6. DeSean Jackson, Eagles wide receiver. (Honored to receive the franchise tag.)
7. Fred Davis, Redskins tight end. (Received the franchise tag.)
8. Brent Grimes, Falcons cornerback. Received the franchise tag.)
Well, that section went pretty well. Finley signed a long-term deal, but none of these players are going anywhere.
We said on February 16 the next 11 players were tough calls, but ultimately would get the franchise tag. Here’s what we think now.
9. Anthony Spencer, Cowboys linebacker. (The two sides are still talking contract. We’ll stick with our prediction.)
10. Matt Prater, Broncos kicker. (Not a lot of news here, but Prater is still a good bet for the tag.)
11. Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks running back. (Lynch remains fully expected to get the tag. He could have been in the “no brainers” category.)
12. Brandon Carr, Chiefs cornerback. (We wrote this before the Chiefs signed Stanford Routt. Carr should now hit the market.)
13. Wes Welker, Patriots wide receiver. (Welker is still viewed as likely to get the tag.)
14. Sione Pouha, Jets nose tackle. (It looks like we’ll get this one wrong. Pouha is expected to sign a long-term deal in New York, but reports indicate he’s unlikely to get the tag.)
15. Dashon Goldson, 49ers safety. (Received the franchise tag.)
16. Stevie Johnson, Bills wide receiver. (There have been conflicting reports on Johnson. This remains up in the air.)
17. Josh Scobee, Jaguars kicker. (Scobee remains a strong candidate for the tag.)
18. Cortland Finnegan, Titans cornerback. (Finnegan will reportedly not get the tag. Which means he’ll get a lot of money on the open market.)
19. Cliff Avril, Lions defensive end. (Avril’s situation remains unclear. Calvin Johnson’s contract makes life tough on the Lions.)
We’ll probably get three or four wrong in that section.
The Near Misses
These were the players we predicted would not get the tag after some consideration.
1. Arian Foster, Texans running back. (Foster remains likely to get the highest tender as a restricted free agent.)
2. Mike Wallace, Steelers wide receiver. (The Steelers have reportedly decided against using the tag on Wallace.)
3. D’Qwell Jackson, Browns linebacker. (Jackson signed a long-term deal in Cleveland.)
4. Michael Bush, Raiders running back. (The Raiders chose to tag someone else. More on that soon.)
5. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs wide receiver. (Now we expect Bowe to get the franchise tag.)
6. Robert Mathis, Colts defensive end. (This remains a tough call. The Colts are trying to sign Mathis long-term.)
7. Paul Soliai, Dolphins nose tackle. (Soliai is not expected to get tagged.)
8. Vincent Jackson, Chargers wide receiver. (Chargers G.M. A.J. Smith could still pull a surprise, but we’ll stick with our prediction.)
The Stanford Routt signing changed the dynamics in Kansas City, but otherwise these predictions look good.
The Guys we missed
We overlooked these players in our first primer.
1. Tyvon Branch, Raiders safety. (In our defense, we did say Branch was a better candidate for the tag than Michael Bush. We should have given G.M. Reggie McKenzie more credit. Branch has been tagged.)
2. Mike Nugent, Bengals kicker. (Herm Edwards’ vision in New York has come true.)
3. Phil Dawson, Browns kicker. (Yeah, it’s really easy to keep a kicker with the franchise tag.)
4. Connor Barth, Bucs kicker. (Barth is expected to get the tag.)