Dustin Keller doesn’t want the franchise tag

Getty Images

The circus may not be leaving town, but the some of the guys who work for it may want out.

Tight end Dustin Keller, a first-round pick whose rookie contract expires in March, doesn’t want to be held in place by the franchise tag.

I don’t want to be franchised,” Keller told Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.  “You want to make sure that you’re going somewhere and you’re signing something that was your decision.  You don’t want to be told that you’re doing something for whatever price.  You want to make that decision for yourself.  You don’t want somebody else making it for you.  I would love to come back here, but when I came here, I signed a five-year deal and this is the fifth year on it.

“You want to be able to make that decision for yourself,” Keller said.  “That’d be illegal in another job.”

Maybe it would be, but the NFLPA agreed to allow one player per year to have his ability to leave restricted by the franchise tag.  And if it happens, Keller will be fairly compensated, making $5.962 million guaranteed in 2013.

“My thinking always was that if they want me to, I will play out this deal and sign a new contract [after the season],” Keller said. “That’s my word.  The whole franchise tag deal is crazy.  Somebody played out their contract, but now you can make them come back for another year even if it’s not something they want to do?  That’s not the situation that I’m in right now, but I just think it’s crazy.”

Keller arguably should be thrilled with $5.962 million in 2013.  Injuries coupled with overall offensive anemia likely have made it hard for him to command that kind of cash on the open market.