No way are there that many tags handed out this year.
Usually, guys that get tagged are first-time free agents — like Vince Wilfork — and most of those guys are already taken care of by the changing free-agents rules, which necessitate six accrued seasons for a player to hit unrestricted free agency. With that in mind, is it possible Wilfork’s the only player who gets the franchise tagged?
I’d say no. What’s interesting, though, is that it could be all defensive linemen, and 75 percent of them could be 3-4 nose tackles. The best bets to join Wilfork in being hit with the franchise designation are 49ers NT Aubrayo Franklin, Steelers NT Casey Hampton and, yes, Raiders DE/DT Richard Seymour.
Both Franklin and Hampton would incur the $7.003 million number that Wilfork would. Seymour’s situation is a little more iffy, since the defensive end number — Thanks to Julius Peppers’ salary of nearly $17 million last year — has skyrocketed to $12.398 million. But the Raiders can hardly afford to let him walk, six months after giving up a first-round pick for him.
Two other guys I see as possibilities: Cardinals LB Karlos Dansby, who would be getting the tag for the third straight year, and Saints S Darren Sharper. So keep an eye on all these guys … In a climate of uncertainty, one player’s actions can affect another player in a similar situation.