Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe reports that the league has informed all NFL teams that the franchise tag will be available this offseason, beginning February 10.
Teams were previously operating under this assumption. Confirmation came today.
Also according to Bedard, the Patriots will “likely” place the tag on impending free agent guard Logan Mankins, who has indicated that he does not anticipate a long-term extension offer.
The most players in league history are eligible for unrestricted free agency, meaning we may see the most franchise and/or transition tags in league history as well.
Obvious candidates to be franchised: Mankins, Ravens defensive lineman Haloti Ngata, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali, Chargers wide receiver Vincent Jackson, Cowboys tackle Doug Free, Vikings wide receiver Sidney Rice and linebacker Chad Greenway, Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams, Packers defensive end Cullen Jenkins, Jets linebacker David Harris, and wide receiver Santonio Holmes, Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss, and Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley.