The NFL’s game of tag

Posted by Darren Urban on February 23, 2010 – 10:35 am

By Thursday, teams must decide whether or not to use their franchise and/or transition tag on scheduled free agents. The Panthers aren’t going to tag defensive end Julius Peppers and the Cards aren’t (and never were) going to tag linebacker Karlos Dansby. In both cases, that’s because their salaries had grown so much that to use the franchise tag (or transition tag, which simply gives a team the right to match any contract offer) would be guaranteeing obscene amounts of money for a single season.

(The Cardinals still haven’t ruled out using a tag — a transition tag, probably — on one of their other scheduled unrestricted free agents, but it’s unlikely at this point. And no, if Antrel Rolle is released, the Cards can’t turn around and use a tag on him.)

The Patriots did tag nose tackle Vince Wilfork yesterday and the Steelers are apparently going to tag nose tackle Casey Hampton (which just shows how important nose tackles are, especially for 3-4 teams; the Cards would have probably had interest in chasing both those guys had they been available).

Dansby was mostly good about dealing with the tag, which he has had the last two seasons. He should, especially now, because it’s provided him $18 million in just two years and now he’s in line for a huge long-term payday. But most players — Hampton and Wilfork included — aren’t fans of the tag, fearing they won’t get the long-term deal (and big guaranteed money) while risking another season of injury. Darnell Dockett certainly made his thoughts known yesterday, something to keep in mind since Dockett would be a franchise candidate in 2012 if the Cards and he don’t come to an extension agreement by then.

“I think the franchise TAG is a way of saying we too cheap to pay u ur worth even though u worked hard to get a big contract,” Dockett tweeted. “Its BS.”

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Cards could still play tag

Posted by Darren Urban on February 17, 2010 – 1:51 pm

Just got a chance to talk to general manager Rod Graves and coach Ken Whisenhunt on a variety of topics (more to come later this afternoon), but a couple of quick points:

— Graves said the Cardinals have not made a final call on whether to use a franchise or transition tag on an unrestricted free agent. That is still being discussed (the deadline is Feb. 25).

Nevertheless, the Cards don’t seem to have a likely candidate for a franchise tag. They can’t tag LB Karlos Dansby (whom Graves said the team does want to retain if possible) because to do so for a third straight season would cost $16 million. They could transition tag Dansby — for a similarly big paycheck — for the right to match any free-agent offer. That seems much more possible, but it’s still a risk. As for the other UFAs, noneĀ  are tag candidates: QB Brian St. Pierre, FB Dan Kreider, WR Sean Morey, TE Anthony Becht, OL Jeremy Bridges, T Mike Gandy, DT Bryan Robinson, LB Monty Beisel, LB Chike Okeafor, CB Ralph Brown, S Matt Ware and K Neil Rackers.

— Whisenhunt said he doesn’t have a timetable yet to replace departed defensive backs coach Teryl Austin.

More on in a bit.

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