Monday was a busy day in the NFL, as teams throughout the league had until 4 p.m. ET to use the franchise tag on prospective free agents. Henry Melton and Randy Starks were among the players who were given the franchise tag on Monday, and a full breakdown of all the franchise tag news can be found here.
Plenty of NFL teams made headlines on Monday outside of the franchise tag -- as one top wide receiver was taken off the free agent market, while another nears a long-term deal.
Chiefs agree to deals with Bowe, Colquitt
Many believed that the Chiefs would franchise Bowe, but instead, Kansas City locked up its No. 1 receiver. Bowe received the franchise tag last year, and would have required a 120% raise had the Chiefs used the franchise tag on him again this year -- a move that would have cost Kansas City over $11 million.
Bowe, however, agreed to a five-year deal, and will serve as Alex Smith's No. 1 wide receiver. Andy Reid and Smith will attempt to turn around Kansas City's passing offense, which was the NFL's worst in 2012.
Kansas City made Colquitt the NFL's highest paid punter with his new, five-year contract. Colquitt will receive nearly $9 million in guaranteed money over the course of the contract. Colquitt was named to the AFC's Pro Bowl roster in 2012, rewarding him for a season in which he pinned opponents inside the 20-yard line on 52.4% of his punts.
Patriots, Welker closer to deal
The New England Patriots opted against using the franchise tag on any of their impending free agents -- a list that includes Sebeastian Vollmer, Aqib Talib and Wes Welker. New England, however, is reportedly making progress on a long-term agreement with Welker, who has been Tom Brady's favorite target for years.
Welker finished the 2012 season with 118 receptions, six touchdowns and 1,354 receiving yards. Welker was targeted by Brady a career-high 174 times in 2012.
It appears increasingly likely that Welker will stay in New England after all, and that the Patriots won't even let the slot receiver test the open market.
Rex Ryan, Tebow back in the news
New England isn't the only AFC East team in the news on Monday, as its arch rival is also making headlines. New York Jets outspoken head coach Rex Ryan told the New York Daily News that there is "no truth" to the rumors that Gang Green is shopping Darrelle Revis.
Revis trade rumors have been circulating for the last month. It certainly comes as no surprise that Ryan downplayed any Revis rumors. Ryan is on the hot seat in New York, and the Jets are undoubtedly a better team with Revis. Losing Revis for future draft picks could end up costing Ryan his job, if the Jets falter in 2013.
It's unlikely that a trade will come prior to the 2013 NFL Draft. Revis is still rehabbing his knee, and the Jets will likely get more for their top cornerback if they wait until he prove he's healthy.
Revis wasn't the only member of the Jets in the news on Monday. Jets general manager John Idzik commented on his team's quarterback situation -- and said that Tim Tebow could remain with the Jets in 2013.
The Jets acquired Tebow from the Broncos last year, and the former Florida Gator was supposed to be an X-factor for the Jets. Instead, Tebow turned out to be nothing more than a distraction -- and didn't even start after Mark Sanchez was benched.
Idzik's comments are somewhat surprising if taken at face value, but it's likely nothing more than a ploy to attempt to drum up some trade interest in Tebow. It's believed that the Jets will either trade or release Tebow this offseason.
The Minnesota Vikings saved cap space on Monday, releasing Michael Jenkins before his roster bonus was due later in March. Jenkins signed a three-year deal with the Vikings prior to the 2011 season, but simply didn't prove to be a difference-maker for Minnesota's offense.
William Gay agreed to terms on a contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday, after spending a year with the Arizona Cardinals. Gay was released by Arizona on Friday, and didn't wait long to return to the same team that drafted him in 2007.
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