- Rivers McCown, Football Outsiders
Have a precarious contract situation with a star player? No problem. Unlike the other major sports, NFL teams have an opportunity to lock a player up for a one-year deal at a very high (and fully guaranteed) salary using the franchise tag. In theory the tag was created to keep teams from losing disgruntled superstars while the team tried to rebuild. In practice, it's mostly been used as a device to force "prove-it" years or allow teams to hang on to risky players without committing long-term to them. Or, for some unknown reason, it's been used to keep kickers. (Here's the list of the tentative salaries for franchise-tagged players.)
Factoring in the salary cap for every individual NFL team, here are five players who should be given the franchise tag.
Joe Flacco, QB
2012 team: Baltimore Ravens
This one is simple as pie. Flacco's agent has said that he wants his client to be the highest-paid quarterback in the league. Flacco's résumé, impressive playoff run notwithstanding, is not exactly up to that pay grade. Flacco finished just 25th last year in Total QBR and was only slightly better than that (17th) in Football Outsiders' DVOA metric (explained here).