We're way out in front of this particular issue, because that's what a hard-hitting
journalism analysis blog writey place like ours does.
The Falcons have been reluctant to use the franchise tag while Thomas Dimitroff has been in charge, and I understand why.
Then again, this is not your typical Falcons off-season. This is an off-season where arguably the best pass rusher in team history (John Abraham), a defensive captain and key run-stopper (Curtis Lofton, a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback (Brent Grimes) and more are up for free agency. You could let every single one of those guys walk, yes, but the team will suffer in 2012 if that's your choice.
So the franchise tag might be in play. It's sort of a weapon of last resort, given the large single year cost and the animosity it can inspire in the player you use it on. Again, this is not your typical off-season.
If the Falcons feel they need to use it on anybody, I hope it's Lofton. He's an enormously useful run-stopper, decent enough in coverage when he's not being asked to do the impossible and a team leader, and he'll cost less with the tag than either Abraham or Grimes would.
In my eyes its more likely, though, another off-season will pass with no franchise tag being used in the ATL. Dimitroff and the front office have long preferred working out long-term deals and, if necessary, drafting to replace departing talent. Tying up potentially $8-10 million in a single players just isn't their style.
Do you agree?