- Bill Williamson, ESPN Staff Writer
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The franchise tag signing period will open later this month. Let’s look at possible franchise tag options for the AFC West teams:
Denver Broncos: Star left tackle Ryan Clady would be a free-agent prize on the open market, but there's no way he's reaching it. The Broncos will try to sign Clady to a long-term deal. If not, he will be given the franchise tag. It is as simple as that. If Clady is extended, I don’t see Denver giving another pending free agent the franchise tag.
Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs will probably end up giving somebody the tag. Their top free agents are receiver, Dwayne Bowe, left tackle Branden Albert and punter Dustin Colquitt. Albert and Colquitt are major priorities. Bowe could be as well. New Kansas City coach Andy Reid has money to spend and I doubt he’d want a weapon like Bowe, who was franchised last year, to leave town. If the former brass was kept, I bet Bowe would leave. He is, by far, the Chiefs’ most reliable receiver and I can see Reid wanting him back. If Bowe is franchised, it would be at more than $11 million.
Oakland Raiders: The Raiders’ top free agents are tight end Brandon Myers and linebacker Philip Wheeler. Both are quality players and Oakland wants them back. But the Raiders have a lot of needs and a tight salary cap, so giving either one the franchise tag might be a stretch. I think Myers, who broke out as a top receiving option in 2012, would be more likely than Wheeler to get the tag. The tight end franchise tag is tentatively set at $5.962 million. The linebacker tag at set at more than $9 million. Wheeler is a good starter, but it would be surprising if he is given the franchise tag. There is an outside chance Oakland could use the tag on punter Shane Lechler, even though he is 36 and who showed signs of slowing down in 2012.
San Diego Chargers: I doubt the Chargers give anybody the tag. They have some solid free agents such as cornerbacks Quentin Jammer and Antoine Cason, linebacker Shaun Phillips, guard Louis Vasquez and defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin. I don’t see any of them being deem invaluable enough to be tagged.
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