Teams can use the franchise tag today right up through March 2nd, but don't expect our beloved Atlanta Falcons to do so.
Seemingly every year, the Falcons choose to pass on the tag, which gives you the opportunity to keep a free agent around for another year at a premium price. I mean, seriously, look at those prices.
Tag projections on offense (based on $143M cap): QB $18.51M, RB $10.93M, WR $12.80M, TE $8.33M, OL $12.92M.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 16, 2015
Tag projections on defense/ST (based on $143M cap): DT $11.17M, DE $14.78M, LB $13.17M, CB $13.05M, S $9.60M, P/K $4.12M.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) February 16, 2015
The list of players the Falcons might consider franchising is exceedingly slim, even in a year where close to a third of the roster is up for free agency. Matt Bryant would be an option, but franchising a kicker for $4-plus million seems like a poor use of your cap space. Otherwise, there's not one guy who would be worth the massive investment for a single year, thanks to Julio Jones being under contract through 2015.
Expect this day to pass by quietly for the Falcons, in other words. Do keep your eye on other teams, because the Bills and Chiefs in particular could elect to franchise Jerry Hughes and Justin Houston, respectively. That would deal a significant blow to the free agent pass rusher market, which is one area where the Falcons are likely to be extremely active in March. Hopefully they do not, giving the Falcons a legitimate crack at two top-tier pass rushers.
Happy President's Day and all that, too.