Around the NFC West: Tag no sure thing

March, 1, 2013
3/01/13
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NFC West teams have named an NFL-high 20 franchise players since divisional realignment in 2002. There's a chance the division will go without one for only the third time during that 11-year span.

General managers for the St. Louis Rams and Seattle Seahawks have recently indicated they weren't planning to use the tag this year.

None of the free agents for Arizona appears to be a candidate.

In San Francisco, where the 49ers have two candidates in Dashon Goldson and Delanie Walker, longtime beat reporter Matt Maiocco says the team is leaning against tagging Goldson for a second successive season.

Walker could still get the tag, but at the very least, there are no clear-cut candidates to become franchise players in San Francisco or anywhere else in the division.

The NFC West last had no franchise players in 2011 and 2006.

Across the NFL, teams have used the tag 116 times since 2002 and 176 times overall to severely limit unrestricted free agents' options.

Franchise players receive one-year offers worth the average of the five previous franchise-player values at the same position, proportional to current salary-cap allotments per team. Those figures have not yet been announced.

Rules allow teams to designate one franchise player for the 2013 season between Feb. 18 and March 4. Any team declining to match an outside offer to a franchise player receives two first-round draft choices originating from the signing team.

Teams can pay a higher premium to take franchise players off the market entirely. That has happened 14 times, including three times by teams currently in the NFC West. San Francisco used this "exclusive" franchise player designation with Julian Peterson in 2004. Seattle used it with Joey Galloway in 2000. Arizona used it with Eric Swann in 1996.

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