The NFL's 4:00 p.m. franchise tag deadline has passed, and the Atlanta Falcons remained firm in their decision to not use one-year tender for the 2013 season. William Moore appeared to be the top candidate to receive a tag from the Falcons, but he will now be headed for free agency if the two sides are unable to reach a deal soon.
Placing a franchise tag on Moore would have cost the Falcons $6.798 million for next season. That's reasonable price for safeties these days. However, it wasn't the plan for the 27-year-old Pro Bowler. The Falcons will presumably hope to negotiate a multi-year deal in the coming week(s).
Sam Baker and Brent Grimes were in the running for a franchise tag as well, although it wasn't expected to happen. The slash-and-burn events from this past Friday proved the Falcons are more concerned with saving cap space. A franchise tag seems counterproductive for those two positions.
Earlier offseason reports indicated Moore was inclined to test the free agent market. The AJC notes he is the range of receiving a five-year deal worth $25-30 million. A bidding war might ensure if he tests the open waters.
Chargers safety Eric Weddle signed a five-year, $40 million contract back in 2011, making him one of the top-paid among his position. He will pocket a base salary of $6 million for 2013. We could expect Moore's figures to fall around this area.
Free agency begins March 12. Will Moore have a deal in place by that point? We can only hope.