Monday, March 5, 2012

Franchise Tag Deadline News

Monday's 4 PM EST deadline for NFL teams to tag players proved to be active. This is a big deal for a lot of fans around the league who may have wanted to see certain players moved into their city.

Monday's deadline saw the Green Bay Packers skip on tagging anyone, particularly soon-to-be-high-paid Quarterback Matt Flynn. The San Diego Chargers refused to tag Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson. The Pittsburgh Steelers opted not to place the franchise tag on Wide Receiver Mike Wallace, potentially leaving them in trouble if Wallace walks in Free Agency.

The Buffalo Bills re-signed Wide Receiver Stevie Johnson to a long-term contract prior to the deadline, without having to designate him a franchise player. The Kansas City Chiefs placed the franchise tag on highly touted Wide Receiver Dwayne Bowe, who I was hoping would have hit the market. The Dallas Cowboys tagged Linebacker Anthony Spencer after deliberation and failed contract extension talks. The Detroit Lions tagged Defensive Lineman Cliff Avril. And the New England Patriots placed a tag on Wide Receiver Wes Welker.

Perhaps the most notable tag of Free Agency was the New Orleans Saints tagging of Quarterback Drew Brees. Tagging Brees and the cost fit in right around what he is worth. Rumors suggested that Brees was asking for far more in his contract at a figure that would have bodyslammed Peyton Manning/Tom Brady's record deal(s). This sounds more like the Saints being able to agree to terms with Brees and knowing they were far apart, choosing instead to settle on the tag. Had Brees been given this money in a contract, it could have been structured to be cap-friendly, helping New Orleans retain at least one [if not both] of their free agent Wide Receivers Marcus Colston & Robert Meachem. With the price they're paying Brees (a price that COULD elevate depending on Peyton Manning's upcoming situation, there's a chance that one, or both could walk next week when Free Agency begins.

The Washington Redskins have 4 very good WR's on the market right now to pursue in Vincent Jackson, Marcus Colston, Robert Meachem, and Mike Wallace. There are a few other names that will hit the market, but these four are the most notable and will more than likely garner the most interest and command the highest contracts. The Skins, theoretically, have the cap space to sign any combo of 2 of these guys, but any one would come as a major support to whoever is starting at Quarterback for the Redskins in 2012.

Mike Shanahan is very familiar with Vincent Jackson, having coached against him twice a year for over half of the last decade. Marcus Colston is probably the leader for me in who I most want here in Washington. When Colston missed time, the Saints struggled to replace his production with other WR's, whereas anyone the Chargers plugged in during Jackson's absence filled the void. Jackson has also shown signs of being a diva and/or quitting on plays when he didn't think he was the primary option. If that's what you want out of a Wide Receiver, Randy Moss will be available for cheaper.

Mike Wallace and Robert Meachem are two in the same in my opinion, and neither a legit #1 option. However, either of them paired with Colston or Jackson along with Hankerson & Gaffney already in place could be a real threat in Washington, especially considering the top-end speed both of these guys would bring to the field to wear defenses down and open up the game for other receivers.

Regardless of which of these guys the Redskins pursue, I'd believe it's in their best interests to go after a combo of any 2 of these guys rather than just any 1, but definitely get Colston or Jackson if you can.

Other notable free agent wide receivers:

Reggie Wayne & Pierre Garcon of the Indianapolis Colts
Laurent Robinson of the Dallas Cowboys
Mario Manningham of the New York Giants
Plaxico Burress of the New York Jets

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