Free Agent Matt Prater Could Receive Franchise Tag From Denver Broncos

Denver Broncos kicker Matt Prater is set to be an unrestricted free agent, but it sounds like the Denver Broncos could stick the kicker with the franchise tag. Prater arguably was one of the most important Broncos players during their winning streak to make the playoffs.

Among the Broncos' whopping 17 unrestricted free agents this offseason, Matt Prater is the strongest candidate for the franchise tag. The projected salary for a franchised kicker this year is less than $2.6 million - down 19 percent from $3.176 million in 2011.

Prater hit some key field goals for the Broncos in the 2011 season, including four walk-off field goals for the Broncos and a game tying 59-yard field goal. SB Nation's Broncos blog Mile High Report thinks that Prater is the most important Broncos free agent of the offseason.

In my opinion, Matt Prater is one of the, if not the most, important player for the Broncos to re-sign this season. While Tim Tebow rightfully received much of the praise for the Broncos turnaround, it is hard to ignore Prater's impact on the Broncos AFC West Championship season.

Prater has spent the past five seasons in the NFL on year-to-year contracts and is looking for a more secure, long-term deal according to the Denver Post. It sounds as though the Broncos plan to tag Prater, but that doesn't preclude the two side from coming to terms on a long term deal.

For more on Matt Prater and the Denver Broncos, visit SB Nation's Broncos blog Mile High Report.

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