Monday is the deadline for teams to apply the franchise tag to hold on to prospective free agents. While many have already pulled the trigger on some big names, including the Saints placing their franchise tag on Drew Brees, there are several big names that are still waiting for a phone call on Monday.
Most are expected to be tagged unless a longer term deal is worked out before then, but as of this evening, below is our list of the top 10 potential free agents who are awaiting a potential franchise tag on Monday. There are some pretty big names not locked down yet.
1. WES WELKER, WR, New England Patriots
Welker wants to stay in New England and the Patriots want to keep him there. There appears to be a difference of opinion on his value, and they haven’t reached terms yet on a long term deal, but he is expected to get a franchise tag on Monday.
2. ARIAN FOSTER, RB, Houston Texans
Foster is a restricted free agent, so it would cost another team a draft pick to come in and take him, but with Foster’s record (over 1800 yards and 26 TDs over the last two seasons), it would make sense for the Texans to protect him with the franchise tag. He is believed to be on the Texans’ call list for Monday and is described as a “most likely” candidate to get a franchise tag, according to the Houston Chronicle. UPDATE – Arian Foster signed a five year extension with the Texans on Monday morning, according to his agent, Mike McCartney.
3. DWAYNE BOWE, WR, Kansas City Chiefs
Bowe is another player who is in limbo, although he is believed “likely” to receive a franchise tag on Monday. Bowe has three 1,000 yard seasons in the last four, and has over 2,300 yards and 20 TDs over the last two years.
4. VINCENT JACKSON, WR, San Diego Chargers
Jackson is viewed as likely to not receive a franchise tag from the Chargers. Jackson would like to finish his career in San Diego, but at age 29, this is likely his last shot for a big contract, so it will depend what the Chargers are willing to spend and what his free market value is. Jackson has gone over 1,000 yards in three of the last four seasons, and is still in his prime. He could become a valuable pick up, but could still elect to stay in San Diego if they are competitive in their offer.
5. MARSHAWN LYNCH, RB, Seattle Seahawks
After rushing for over 1,200 yards and scoring 12 TDs last season, along with another 212 yards receiving, Lynch is expected to receive a franchise tag as well. UPDATE – Lynch signed a four year, $31 million deal late Sunday night, so cross him off the Franchise List.
6. CEDRIC BENSON, RB, Cincinnati Bengals
The Bengals seem prepared to let Benson go in free agency and he appears unlikely to receive a new contract or a franchise tag. Benson has rushed for over 3,400 yards and 19 TDs over the past 3 years.
7. CLIFF AVRIL, DL, Detroit Lions
Avril, along with Ndamukong Suh, has been a critical component of the defense that made the Lions competitive. He is believed to be likely to get the tag on Monday.
8. ROBERT MATHIS, DL, Indianapolis Colts
Mathis and the Colts have been working on a new deal, and they seem committed to work together towards that end. The Colts may drop the franchise tag as insurance in case the deal isn’t completed by the time free agency opens on the 13th.
9. CORTLAND FINNEGAN, DB, Tennessee Titans
Finnegan has been a solid corner for the Titans, recording 14 interceptions over his six years in Tennessee and making 175 tackles over the last two seasons. The Titans don’t appear to be working on a long term deal with him, and he is unlikely to get a franchise tag, so he is one of the most likely members of this list to hit the free agent market this month.
10. ANTHONY SPENCER, LB, Dallas Cowboys
Spencer appears likely to get the tag call on Monday as well.