The NFL franchise tag deadline is just hours away. Who has already been tagged? Who might receive a tag before 4 p.m.?
The NFL franchise tag deadline is right around the corner, as teams have until 4 p.m. this afternoon to make a decision. Five teams already placed tags on players, leaving a constant storm of speculation surrounding the remaining 27.
For a look at how much each position's franchise tag would cost, click here. Let's run down the list of players already tagged, who might be tagged today, and who will not be receiving a tag before the deadline hits.
Who's been tagged?
Jairus Byrd, Buffalo Bills: The Bills announced the tag on Friday. Letting another starting safety walk wasn't an option for Buffalo.
Henry Melton, Chicago Bears: Melton will continue to anchor the Bears defensive line in 2013. The Pro Bowler had his best season in 2012 and will likely still be looking for a long-term deal going forward in the offseason.
Michael Johnson, Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are committed to re-signing Johnson, as Marvin Lewis notes. They'll have more time to work out a deal now with a franchise tag in place.
Ryan Clady, Denver Broncos: A tag for Clady gives the Broncos more time to structure a deal for the three-time Pro Bowl tackle.
Pat McAfee, Indianapolis Colts: SB Nation's Ryan Van Bibber thinks the money was well spent for the Colts punter. McAfee averaged 48.2 yards per punt last season.
Could be tagged today
Glover Quin, Houston Texans: Speculation continues to point towards Quin as the only possible recipient of the Texans' tag.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs: Branden Albert is another candidate on the roster, but a Bowe-less Chiefs depth chart would look barren at receiver. Joel Thorman of Arrowhead Pride believes Bowe deserves the tag.
Randy Starks, Miami Dolphins: Cornerback Sean Smith appears to be out of the franchise tag picture, leaving Starks as the main player in contention.
Steven Hauschka, Seattle Seahawks: He's the only one receiving any consideration. A tag for Hauschka wouldn't be pricey for the Seahawks.
Jared Cook, Tennessee Titans: Cook wants a wide receiver designation to earn nearly $4 million more for his franchise tag. Jermichael Finley tried that strategy and failed last year.
Not expected to be tagged
William Moore, Atlanta Falcons: Reports waver on the Falcons' tag situation. Moore is the top candidate to receive a tag in Atlanta, but Jason La Canfora said the team appears unlikely to use it just days ago.
Paul Kruger and Dannell Ellerbe, Baltimore Ravens: General manager Ozzie Newsome said a franchise tag would only be used on Joe Flacco. Now that Flacco's deal is in place, the Ravens will likely hold on to their tag.
Anthony Spencer, Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys don't use franchise tags often. Spencer will presumably hit the market.
Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers: Jennings looked like he was on his way out until Ian Rapoport of NFL.com reported the Packers are still considering tagging him. Unfortunately for Jennings, though, it would be a surprise for Green Bay to go through with it.
Jake Long, Miami Dolphins: As Adam Schefter notes, Long is not expected to be tagged today. The left tackle will reportedly be looking for $11 million this offseason, and the Dolphins probably won't be the ones handing him that contract.
Phil Loadholt, Minnesota Vikings: A long-term deal makes more sense for the Vikings right tackle. Daily Norseman says a tag won't be coming for Loadholt.
Wes Welker, New England Patriots: Another player Schefter said won't be tagged, Welker will still be looking for a multi-year deal from the Patriots.
Dustin Keller, New York Jets: Keller hasn't heard from the Jets about receiving a new contract. He'll keep waiting after 4 p.m. comes.
Shane Lechler, Oakland Raiders: His cap hit from 2012 would increase the price of a franchise tag to $5.88 million in 2013. The Raiders aren't paying their specialist that much money.
Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams: It's Amendola or bust for the Rams franchise tag. General manager Les Snead said during the NFL Combine that Amendola won't be tagged.
The San Francisco 49ers choosing to not use a tag Dashon Goldson is a bit perplexing. The two-time Pro Bowler was tagged last year, but this offseason it looks like the Niners will let him test the free agent market. He will draw interest from multiple teams right away. David Fucillo of Niners Nation will be surprised if he returns.
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