Tags aren't filled early in franchise season

No franchise-tag designations were handed out on the first day they were an option, but expect that to change in the next two weeks.

Of all the challenges facing the Vikings this offseason, one of them won't be the potential of alienating a player by slapping the franchise tag on him. The period in which to franchise players began Monday, but, unlike other aspects of the NFL, the start of the franchise period was met by silence, not a shotgun flurry of activity.

Monday came and went without any team imposing the franchise tag, which has historically been a decision that alienates players and often leads to contentious holdouts as players seek to get long-term deals done and, short of that, keeps them out of offseason activities because they simply don't sign the franchise tender until the last second.

FRANCHISE TAG VALUES (IN MILLIONS)
Pos. 2010 2011 2012*
Quarterback $16.405M $15.975 $14.4
Running back $8.156 $9.684 $7.7
Wide receiver $9.521 $11.933 $9.6
Tight end $5.908 $7.285 $5.4
Offensive lineman $10.731 $10.510 $9.4
Defensive end $12.398 $13.005 $10.6
Defensive tackle $7.003 $12.381 $7.9
Linebacker $9.680 $10.190 $8.8
Cornerback $9.566 $14.354 $10.6
Safety $6.455 $9.625 $6.2
Kickers/Punters $2.814 $3.260 $2.5
*2012 figure is estimated. Source: The Sports XChange.
There are several players who are likely to get tagged, but, in the post-lockout era, teams are going to use the franchise tag as a last resort.

What may also come into play as the countdown to free agency begins is not only the role of franchising players, but the changes to the restricted free-agent process. One of the hidden aspects of the collective bargaining agreement last year was to eliminate the highest classification a team could place on restricted free agents – requiring a first- and third-round pick as compensation. The stiff price of two draft picks was often too steep a price for a team to give up to sign a RFA to an offer sheet. Under the new CBA rules, the most a team can receive in compensation is a first-round pick – making players like Arian Foster much more likely to get interest from other teams in the RFA market if he isn't franchised.

Monday marked the start of the unofficial start 2012 business year (the official start is March 13, when free agency opens), but the start of franchise-tag season came and went without any activity. That was no surprise, but expect things to change in a big way in the coming weeks – just not quite yet.

TUESDAY NOTES

  • The Vikings have reportedly reached a tentative agreement with the University of Minnesota for a compensation package to the university for the use of TCF Bank Stadium while the Vikings are displaced from the Metrodome when and if a stadium funding deal is approved by the State Legislature and Minneapolis City Council. The agreement would add 3,000 end zone seats to accommodate the number of season ticket holders the Vikings have. As it currently stands, the Vikings have more season ticket holders (53,000) than The Bank has seats (50,000).

  • The Vikings are currently more than $10 million under the proposed 2012 salary cap, according to 1500 ESPN. With the potential of restructuring contracts or releasing high-priced veterans like Steve Hutchinson, the Vikings could enter the free-agent bidding wars with nearly $20 million in available cap space.

  • The Vikings were one of the teams that inquired about CB Stanford Routt, who was released last week by the Oakland Raiders. However, they were never seriously in contract talks with Routt. The cornerback signed a three-year deal with Kansas City on Monday.

  • The Saints are trying to get a contract worked out with quarterback Drew Brees for a couple of reasons. First, he's too important to the team to ever allow him to get away in the free-agent market. Second, if a contract can get done, New Orleans can use its franchise tag on Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks. Teams only have one franchise tag they can use, so, if they want to assure they can keep both, one of them will have to ink a long-term deal in the next couple of weeks.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.



  • Viking Update Top Stories

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  • The Vikings have reportedly reached a tentative agreement with the University of Minnesota for a compensation package to the university for the use of TCF Bank Stadium while the Vikings are displaced from the Metrodome when and if a stadium funding deal is approved by the State Legislature and Minneapolis City Council. The agreement would add 3,000 end zone seats to accommodate the number of season ticket holders the Vikings have. As it currently stands, the Vikings have more season ticket holders (53,000) than The Bank has seats (50,000).
  • The Vikings are currently more than $10 million under the proposed 2012 salary cap, according to 1500 ESPN. With the potential of restructuring contracts or releasing high-priced veterans like Steve Hutchinson, the Vikings could enter the free-agent bidding wars with nearly $20 million in available cap space.
  • The Vikings were one of the teams that inquired about CB Stanford Routt, who was released last week by the Oakland Raiders. However, they were never seriously in contract talks with Routt. The cornerback signed a three-year deal with Kansas City on Monday.
  • The Saints are trying to get a contract worked out with quarterback Drew Brees for a couple of reasons. First, he's too important to the team to ever allow him to get away in the free-agent market. Second, if a contract can get done, New Orleans can use its franchise tag on Pro Bowl guard Carl Nicks. Teams only have one franchise tag they can use, so, if they want to assure they can keep both, one of them will have to ink a long-term deal in the next couple of weeks.
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