Although there has been some speculation that Doug Free might be a franchise tag candidate for the Dallas Cowboys according to Jason LaConfora of NFL.com, league sources have said that the Cowboys have ruled out using the tag on any players.
Also, here's a little bit of news that should have the Cowboys front office reaching for their phones:
"The Atlanta Falcons, a league source said Tuesday, will not use the tag. Offensive linemen Tyson Clabo and Harvey Dahl are potential free agents, but the Falcons hope to retain their nucleus through longer-term deals."
Clabo and Dahl, for those few who actually need reminding, are two of the top free agents who could shore up the right side of the Cowboys line.
As for the rest of the league, the franchise tag is being wielded by many teams.
Peyton Manning was franchise tagged by the Colts yesterday, which means the Colts must pay him the average of the top five salaries at his position. But because Manning is already one of the highest paid players in the league - he already made more in 2010 than the expected 2011 franchise tag number would have yielded - a special clause in the franchise tag regulations provides for this, and Manning will receive 120 percent of his 2010 salary. That brings his total franchise tag number in 2011 to about $23 million.
Both Manning and Vick received the exclusive label so no other team can negotiate with him. After the break, we review some other players who've been franchise tagged. All are believed to be non-exclusive, meaning that they may negotiate with other NFL teams, but if the player signs an offer sheet from another team, the original team has a right to match the terms of that offer. If it does not match the offer the original team is entitled to receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.
The favorite player in every trade scenario for OL-needy teams, the New England Patriots Logan Mankins, was the first player tagged on Monday. His franchise number should be around $10.1 million this season.
The Ravens put the franchise tag on DT Haloti Ngata, but that came at a steep price: Last year, franchised defensive tackles earned $7 million. But because of Washington Redskins DT Albert Haynesworth's massive 2010 salary, that number was recently reported to have increased to $12.5 million this year.