We’ve been speculating and debating about franchise tags all day and throughout the past week, and alas, eight teams used the player shackling salary tool. You know about most of them because we’ve told you, and if you didn’t read it here I assume you know nothing because this is the only place you read anything and know about things (Henry Melton was tagged over the weekend but shhhh).
After the deadline passed at 4 p.m. ET eight tags were finalized, including the Cowboys’ use of theirs on Anthony Spencer earlier this afternoon after they determined that pass rushing help for DeMarcus Ware is a good thing, and thus letting an outside linebacker who had 11 sacks this past season go would have been a bad thing. Hashtag analysis.
Here’s the full final list of tagged players:
- Jairus Byrd (safety, Bills)
- Henry Melton (defensive tackle, Bears)
- Michael Johnson (defensive end, Bengals)
- Anthony Spencer (outside linebacker, Cowboys)
- Pat McAAfee (punter, Colts)
- Branden Albert (offensive tackle, Chiefs)
- Randy Starks (defensive tackle, Dolphins)
- Ryan Clady (offensive tackle, Broncos)
And some notes on players who were maybe getting tagged, but they escaped those awful financial clutches, and they’ll now enter free agency…
- Jared Cook (tight end, Titans): Since he lined up in the slot so often, there was a debate about Cook’s designation and if he deserved to be tagged as a wide receiver or a tight end, with the wideout tag costing Tennessee $4.5 million more. It was widely reported over the weekend that Cook was destined for the tag regardless, but the Titans likely backed away knowing that the WR/TE positional battle was one they’d lose (Pro Football Focus reports that Cook lined up in the slot on 56 percent of his offensive snaps). Along with Bennett below, Cook now adds to a deep tight end free agent class that also includes Dustin Keller, Fred Davis, and Brandon Myers.
- Martellus Bennett (tight end, Giants): Bennett is better looking this year, and therefore he’ll make more money on the open market. Or something.
- Dashon Goldson (safety, 49ers): Tagging Goldson for the second straight year proved to be too expensive at the escalated price, but he’s still hopeful an agreement can be reached with the 49ers prior to next Tuesday. Losing an elite ball-hawking safety who has nine interceptions over the past two years is very much the opposite of enjoyable.
- William Moore (safety, Falcons): Atlanta has $15.9 million in cap space after cutting Michael Turner, John Abraham, and Dunta Robinson last week, so there’s still a possibility that Moore will be retained before the beginning of free agency. But committing $6.9 million to him now wasn’t happening.
- Wes Welker (wide receiver, Patriots): The chances of Welker getting tagged for a second straight year were minimal, and I’m still stubbornly believing the that chances of him departing New England are equally miniscule. Money is nice and all, but if common sense prevails Welker will realize that the usage of his skillset won’t be duplicated anywhere else.