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)|
|*2012 figure is estimated. Source: The Sports XChange.|
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.
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.