Just about all positions were covered. Matt Cassel was the only QB tagged and no wonder – it will cost $14.65 million. Two running backs – Brandon Jacobs of the Giants and Darren Sproles of the Chargers – were tagged at $6.62 million. Bucs wide receiver Antonio Bryant ($9.98 million), tight end Bo Scaife of the Titans ($4.46 million) and offensive tackle Max Starks ($8.451 million) of the Steelers round out the offensive players hit with the franchise designation.
On the defensive side, Julius Peppers of the Panthers was hit with a tag number of $8.99 million, but that won't apply since he made $13.9 million last year. The linebackers – Terrell Suggs of the Ravens, Karlos Dansby of the Cardinals and Leroy Hill of Seattle – got tagged at a level of $8.3 million, Houston CB Dunta Robinson was slapped with a $9.96 million tag number and St. Louis safety Oshiomogho Atogwe got franchised at $6.34 million.
Even the special teamers weren't immune from the franchise designation. Cincinnati kicker Shayne Graham and Atlanta punter Michael Koenen were franchised at a level of $2.48 million.
Once viewed as a last resort, the franchise tag is now seen as a bargaining chip that teams can use to force trades on star players they would have lost to free agency. Considering that almost half the teams in the league used the franchise tag this year, it seems clear that the tag is no longer a tool of last resort, but a fixture on the NFL landscape.