As expected, the Broncos have placed their franchise tag on kicker Matt Prater. V.P. of football operations John Elway broke the news on Twitter.
“Placing the franchise tag on Matt Prater ensures that he’ll be a Bronco in 2012,” Elway said.
That’s a good idea, given that the Broncos currently play plenty of close, low-scoring games that rely on three-pointers from their kickers’ toe.
A five-year veteran, Prater formally will be offered a one-year deal in the range of $2.6 million. Because the top of the market for kickers currently is in the neighborhood of $3 million annually, it’s a no-brainer to lock guys like Prater up for a much lower amount.
It also helps explain why the Bengals used the tag on Mike Nugent and the Jaguars used it on Josh Scobee and the Bucs may use it on Connor Barth.
Phil Dawson of the Browns also received the tag, but he’ll get 120 percent of his 2011 pay, when he also was the team’s franchise player. It works out to $3.81 million, better than last year’s going rate but perhaps lower than the new high-water mark that otherwise would have been set.