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Why The Falcons Are Smart Not To Overuse The Franchise Tag

Marc Serota

The Atlanta Falcons haven't made frequent use of the franchise tag with Thomas Dimitroff running the show, and that's turned out to be a wise decision.

The one time the Falcons did use the franchise tag, a year ago on cornerback Brent Grimes, you could say it backfired. Grimes made about $10 million and was lost for the season due to injury after the first week of the season. Nobody's fault in particular, that one, but it points to the inherent risk of using the franchise tag.

The Bills offer an instructive example in 2013 of how a franchise tag can help immediately but do long-term damage. They franchised safety Jairus Byrd in hopes of reaching a long-term accord, but by all accounts they haven't come close to his contract demands and he's now likely to play out his tender this season and leave in 2014.

Given the high in-year cost of the franchise tag and the possibility of alienating the player, I think the Falcons have been smart to make limited use of the tag. Don't you?