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The (disen-)Franchised Four

Posted by Albert Breer  February 18, 2010 12:58 PM

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TebuckyJones.jpg
Super-Bowl-XXXIX---Adam-Vinatieri-is-hoisted-into-the-air-during-Patriots-victory-celebration-Photograph-C12876492.jpeg
asante.jpg
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The above pictures should illustrate the feeling that the four guys above had when the Patriots franchised them. Or maybe they don't.

To be fair, the only real firestorm that followed any of these "Taggings" came in Asante Samuel's case, which led to a sit-out (remember, it wasn't a holdout, since he wasn't under contract) of training camp. Tebucky Jones and Matt Cassel were traded quickly. And Adam Vinatieri -- the only guy to be tagged twice by New England -- handled it pretty quietly.

With Vince Wilfork poised to become the fifth member of this group, our guy Chris Gasper reviewed the previous examples of New England using the franchise tag over on his Web page. Here's what he found ....

The Patriots history with the franchise tag doesn't bode well for Vince Wilfork, if the Patriots indeed place it on him. The Patriots have used the tag fives times since Bill Belichick became Patriots coach in 2000. Only on one of those occasions -- Adam Vinatieri in 2002 -- did the team and the franchised player reach agreement on a long term contract. Here are the others:

2003 -- Safety Tebucky Jones was franchised and later traded to the New Orleans Saints for a package of draft picks that became Corey Dillon, Tully Banta-Cain and Dexter Reid.

2005 -- Vinatieri signed a $2.5 million franchise tender, played out the season and then signed with the Colts in the off-season.

2007 -- Asante Samuel refused to sign his $7.79 million franchise tender until the team included provisions -- the team winning 12 or more games or Samuel playing 60 percent of the defensive snaps -- that prevented him from being franchised again. Both provisions were met and Samuel signed a six-year, $57 million deal with Philly.

2008 -- Matt Cassel was franchised at a cost of $14.65 million and later traded to Kansas City along with Mike Vrabel for a second-round pick the Patriots used to select Pat Chung.
News, analysis and commentary from Boston.com's staff writers and contributors, including Zuri Berry and Erik Frenz.

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