Starting today, and continuing on to March 3rd, all 32 NFL teams have the option of applying the franchise tag on an impending free agent player. If a team gives a player the nonexclusive tag, they can still negotiate with other teams. Once an agreement (a.k.a., an offer sheet) is signed, the team that originally tagged the player is given a window to match the offer.
If given the exclusive tag, a player cannot negotiate with another team. They must either hammer things out with the team that tagged them, or, receive a one-year deal from that team paying the player within the five highest-paid players at his respective position in the current league year. Such one-year deals are cap killers, depending upon the position.
Last year, the Colts tagged punter Pat McAfee with the franchise tag, but did not sign him to a long-term deal. Tagging a punter was something NBC analyst and former NFL player Ross Tucker thought was yet another example of why the name of the tag, "franchise" tag, needed to be changed. Punters can't be important players in Tucker's world. Pat McAfee disagreed.
McAfee is a free agent again this year and it is unlikely that the Colts will tag him again, though we kind of wish they would just so the 6-year punter can slap Ross Tucker around once again.
Who will general manager Ryan Grigson zap with the tag?
General consensus is that corner Vontae Davis will get zapped if a deal cannot be reached soon. Grigson has a stake in retaining Davis even though, in the opinion of this blogger, Davis simply isn't worth the money he will rightly command on the open market. Value in free agency doesn't equal value on the field. Erik Walden and LaRon (a.k.a. LOLRon) Landry are recent examples of this.
Below is a list of Indianapolis' free agents. Let us know, of this group, which should get the franchise tag. We're curious to see your choices. The first person to post "Darrius Heyward-Bey" gets slapped.
UFA (Unrestricted Free Agents) - No restrictions, the player is a free agent and is free to sign with any team
- Antoine Bethea, S
- Adam Vinatieri, K
- Pat McAfee, P
- Donald Brown, RB
- Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR
- Mike McGlynn, OG
- Ahmad Bradshaw, RB
- Vontae Davis, CB
- Jeff Linkenbach, OG
- Cassius Vaughn, CB
- Pat Angerer, ILB
- Aubrayo Franklin, DT
- Fili Moala, DE
- Sergio Brown, S
- Ricardo Mathews, DE
- Lawrence Sidbury, OLB