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NFL Franchise Tags Begin to Roll Out

Despite the uncertainty of what a franchise tag actually means right now, teams have already started to roll them out. Yesterday, the New England Patriots broke the ice by officially putting the tag on offensive lineman Logan Mankins. The Patriots tagged Mankins with the "non-exclusive" tag, which allows him to negotiate with other teams. Today, multiple reports are out that the New York Jets have franchise tagged linebacker David Harris. The Philadelphia Eagles also placed the franchise tag on quarterback Michael Vick and also used the transitional tag on kicker David Akers. During the uncapped year, teams can use up to two transitional tags on players, but like the franchise tag it's uncertain on what they actually mean. The tags apply under the old CBA and the 2011 season doesn't officially have a CBA, so as far as we know the tags mean absolutely nothing once March 4th hits.

Marcedes Lewis is the only player on the Jacksonville Jaguars that will get consideration for the franchise tag, but I expect a long-term deal to be finished by the tagging deadline on February 23rd. Neither side wants to use the franchise designation, especially Lewis' camp. I could see the Jaguars placing a transitional tag on wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker. The transitional tag provides no compensation for the Jaguars if Sims-Walker signs with another team, but the Jaguars can tender Sims-Walker  to a one-year deal for the average salary of the ten highest-paid wide receivers in 2010 or match the offersheet he "signed" in free agency. I don't expect the team to use either tag, however.