This afternoon Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson became the first player to be given a franchise tag this offseason followed close behind by Oakland Raiders safety Tyvon Branch.
Both players were expected to be franchised by their respective teams. In Jackson’s case, it was speculated that he would be traded. Eagles management indicate this is far from true.
Eagles General Manager Howie Roseman is quoted by @EaglesInsider as saying the following:
“We want DeSean to be an Eagle for the long haul and this is a step in the right direction.”
On the Raiders side, they are struggling to clear cap space this offseason and Branch was expected to ask for a contract far more than the likely franchise number for a safety.
Both Jackson and Branch were expected to be the top players at their respective positions in free agency. These moves, while expected, thin out the free agent market a bit and should make it easier for players like Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston and LaRon Landry to get the big money contracts they are seeking.