As the NFL deadline for the franchise tag approaches (March 4th, 4pm ET) many NFL franchises are frantically trying to get deals done to avoid using the tag. The franchise tag gives a player a large single season contract, and while that one year pay out is higher than they’d get over a long term deal in a single season, it’s risky.
The NFL is a physical league and there is a lot of risk involved. If you’re injured you’ve hurt your bargaining power for that long term contract and could lose money, also the instability it brings is undesirable when a career ending injury is possible with every game.
So what 5 players will most likely dodge the NFL Franchise Tag?
ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter listed 5 players that will most likely avoid the franchise tag.
1. WR Wes Welker
The New England Patriots are supposedly close to a new deal for Wes Welker. It is doubtful that Welker would want to leave to go some where besides New England, I mean he has it good with Tom Brady throwing him the ball, the only downside is listening to Giselle complain if you drop a ball. And even then just watch her yell at you.
2. OT Jake Long
A 4 time Pro Bowler and a 2 time All-Pro, the market should be high on Jake Long. The Dolphins likely want to keep him and most feel confident they can.
3. P Shane Lechler
Seriously… who uses the franchise tag on a punter, a position many consider expendable?
4. S Dashon Goldosn
A 2 time Pro Bowler and once a All-Pro, Goldson is coming off a strong season but the 49ers have a plethora of draft picks and don’t need to franchise him. He elected to come back to San Francisco last season after mulling a deal from the New England Patriots. Having played in two consecutive NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl, the appeal of the 49ers is self explanatory.
5. TE Dustin Keller
He has been serviceable and popular with the Jets’ faithful but using the franchise tag doesn’t make sense. A franchise tag means they’re getting Top 5 pay for that position and he has never been to a pro bowl. In his defense he’s had Mark Sanchez throwing him passes. But he isn’t one of the Top 5 tight ends in the league, not to mention the Jets have cap issues as it is.