- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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The topic is a hot one because today marks the beginning of a two-week window to apply the tag, and there will most likely be a handful of teams that choose to do so.
History can't predict whether a specific team will use the franchise tag, as salary-cap situations vary from one offseason to the next, but the Patriots have shown an ability to effectively utilize the tag under Bill Belichick.
Below is a rundown of those tag situations, with a note on the ultimate result for that player.
2002: Kicker Adam Vinatieri. Signed a multiyear extension.
2003: Safety Tebucky Jones. Tagged and then traded to New Orleans for three picks.
2005: Vinatieri. Played on the franchise tag and departed in free agency the next offseason.
2007: Cornerback Asante Samuel. Played on the franchise tag and departed in free agency the next offseason.
2009: Quarterback Matt Cassel. Tagged and then traded with linebacker Mike Vrabel to Kansas City for a second-round pick.
2010: Defensive tackle Vince Wilfork. Signed a multiyear extension.
2011: Guard Logan Mankins. Signed a multiyear extension following a holdout.
2012: Wide receiver Wes Welker. Played on the franchise tag and departed in free agency the next offseason.
As laid out by colleague Mike Reiss earlier today, the Patriot most likely to receive the franchise tag is cornerback Aqib Talib, though it's still no certainty.