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Monday, March 4, 2013
No surprise: Jets don't play tag

By Rich Cimini

From the no-brainer department: The Jets opted not to use their franchise tag before the 4 p.m. deadline.

There had been some faint rumblings they'd use the tag on tight end Dustin Keller, but that would've cost them $6.066 million, eating up a nice chunk of valuable cap space. Personally, I think the Jets should try to re-sign Keller -- he'd be a good fit in Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast offense -- but they will let him hit the open market. Except for a scouting-combine meeting with his agent and the Jets, Keller hasn't heard a thing from the team about its plans for him.

The only other candidate for the franchise tag would've been safety LaRon Landry, but his one-year contract included a clause that prohibited the Jets from applying the tag to him.

Only eight teams opted to use the tag, down from a record 21 last year. In terms of supply and demand, the low number bodes well for the Jets, who will have a better chance of retaining some of their own players. There will be less demand for them in a deeper unrestricted market.

The Jets have seven key starters headed to unrestricted free agency: Landry, Keller, DT Mike DeVito, RB Shonn Greene, RG Brandon Moore, LG Matt Slauson and S Yeremiah Bell.

The list of franchise tags:
• Chiefs T Branden Albert
• Bills S Jairus Byrd
• Broncos T Ryan Clady
• Bengals DE Michael Johnson
• Colts P Pat McAfee
• Bears DT Henry Melton
• Cowboys DE/LB Anthony Spencer
• Dolphins DT Randy Starks