Monday, February 18, 2013
Tag impact in Detroit
By Tim Kavanagh
Monday marks the first day that NFL teams can apply the franchise tag to one of their impending free agents, and while the announcements may not be too numerous in the early going, it's expected to be another big year for the tag (after 21 teams used the designation last offseason). One team that isn't going to use the tag is the Detroit Lions -- GM Martin Mayhew declared as much recently -- but they will feel the impact of the franchise tag in other ways.
As Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press explains, the low cost of the tag for safeties means that other teams' free agents at the position -- such as Jairus Byrd, William Moore and Glover Quin -- are more likely to earn the designation. This will decrease the supply of starting-caliber players on the market, at a position where the Lions need to sign at least one option, and more likely two. Their own impending free agent safety, Louis Delmas, will now also cost more money to retain, as his agent certainly understands the market dynamics of this particular offseason.
The same can be said for the market for pass-rushers. The Bengals will likely be using their tag this offseason, and it'll most likely be on either OT Andre Smith or DE Michael Johnson. If it's the latter, the same supply reduction effect is the result; and similar to the Delmas situation, internal free agent Cliff Avril will now be entering a market with fewer viable DE options.
While the list of players in the NFL with expiring contracts looks quite appealing at this point, it's important to remember that a number of these folks won't actually be available when the time comes for other teams to start bidding.