Playing Tag?: No Thanks

A total of 14 teams ended up using a franchise tag to keep control of a valuable free agent, but the Dolphins ended up against deciding to go that route. That means that the Dolphins' eight unrestricted free agents will be free to negotiate with any other team come next Friday.

Given the cost associated with putting a franchise tag on a player, maybe we shouldn't have too surprised the Dolphins chose this route. The reason is simple: None of the Dolphins' potential unrestricted free agents are, with all due respect, irreplaceable.

There has been some thought that right tackle Vernon Carey might get the tag, but the Dolphins would have had to guarantee a one-year offer of $8.45 million, which is more than what Carey should be making.

The cost of franchising a cornerback was $9.957 million, which also is more than what Andre' Goodman should expect to make.

From this end, perhaps the only free agent-to-be who could have merited the guarantee his tag would have meant was strong safety Yeremiah Bell. The tender amount for safeties was $6.34 million.

For the record, the eight potential Dolphins unrestricted free agents are, in addition to Bell, Carey and Goodman: linebacker Channing Crowder, free safety Renaldo Hill, guard/center Al Johnson, wide receiver Tab Perry and linebacker Derek Smith.

The possibility certainly exists that one or more of the eight players could be re-signed before they hit the free agent market, and we'd probably think the most likely to go that route would be Bell and Carey.

For the record, the list of players around the league who got franchise tags -- and therefore won't be available -- is as follows: New England QB Matt Cassel, Pittsburgh OT Max Starks, Baltimore OLB Terrell Suggs, Cincinnati PK Shayne Graham, Tennessee TE Bo Scaife, Houston CB Dunta Robinson, San Diego RB/KR Darren Sproles, New York Giants RB Brandon Jacobs, Atlanta P Michael Koenen, Tampa Bay WR Antonio Bryant, Carolina DE Julius Peppers, Arizona OLB Karlos Dansby, Seattle OLB Leroy Hill and St. Louis S O.J. Atogwe.

Of those players, Suggs, Bryant and Dansby clearly are players who would have been of interest for the Dolphins.


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