Every year teams have the opportunity to apply a franchise tag on one free agent player in order to retain them, for another year, to hash out a long-term contract in relative silence from other teams. Once again, the tag has been a blessing for some teams who were looking at losing raising stars, while others may have missed the ball.
For a full recap, check out Gregg Rosenthal’s NFL.com article here.
The main points that I found fascinating, interesting or head-scratching were:
– The Bengals choose DE Michael Johnson – The Bengals had to choose between Johnson and RT Andre Smith, who played very well last season. I believe the Bengals made the right call considering how valuable a good, young pass rusher is in today’s NFL, but Smith is now asking for around $9 million per year, which is rather lofty for a right tackle. However, he is young, talented and he will get that sort of value somewhere whether it is Cincinnati or elsewhere. Cincy fans better hope it’s Cincy or the Bengals’ draft will look very different as they would have to replace a high-end starter on the offensive line.
– The Cowboys choose to tag DE/LB Anthony Spencer… again – This is the second go around for Spencer getting tagged and while that alone isn’t a bad thing, there are other problems here. For one, Spencer isn’t all that great. He is solid and serviceable, but hasn’t really lived up to his potential in Dallas. He came on last season a bit, but to this point in his career, it was the exception rather than the rule. Point being, I don’t think he deserves a huge chunk of cash based on his play. By getting tagged, Spencer costs $10.6 million. That’s more than what Andre Smith is asking for per year and Smith’s request would easily put him into the top-5 highest paid right tackles in the league. Spencer is 29-years old and is not worth more than the 26-year old Smith who happens to be one of the best at his position. I realize that this high salary number is just a temporary thing, predetermined and isn’t meant to reflect the true value of Spencer, but still, without a long-term deal in place, it is a lot to be paying him. There are varying reports that Dallas is working on a long-term deal (or at least should), which would help with that salary cap, and other reports that they may try to trade Spencer. There are others who adamantly argue that tagging Spencer was a mistake. Either way, Dallas is putting a lot of resources into a player who may not be worth it.
– Chiefs sign WR Dwayne Bowe to long-term deal just before tag deadline and tag LT Branden Albert – Bowe’s situation was up in the air all the way down to the wire. Many thought he was going to get tagged anyway, but when Bowe was signed to a long term deal worth $56 million with $26 million guaranteed, Albert became the next option and Kansas City took it. Bowe is a great talent who has put up solid numbers even when it seems all the cards are stacked against him (see: Brady Quinn/Matt Cassel) so having Bowe in the fold is a positive as it allows Kansas City to focus on a 2nd receiver to round out new QB Alex Smith’s weapons. There are discussions about Albert making a position change (which he doesn’t like all that much), but the ability of Kansas City to keep both players who they obviously value, is a positive.