Franchise tag deadline day is finally here. All 32 NFL teams have until before 4:00 PM EST today, Monday, March 2 to designate franchise (or transition) players.
The big question for the Philadelphia Eagles is whether or not they will use the tag on impending free agent Jeremy Maclin. The 26-year-old wide receiver is coming off of a career season where he caught 85 passes for 1,318 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. Maclin turned down a long-term contract extension from the Eagles last offseason and instead opted to play on a one-year deal. Maclin's risk clearly paid off big because in line for a big payday.
It remains to be seen if Maclin and the Eagles can work out a long-term deal. Recent reports indicate that both sides "aren't significantly far apart" in negotiations. But if the Eagles have any doubt they can't get a deal done before 2015 NFL free agency begins next week on Tuesday, March 10, they might want to tag Maclin. That way they could ensure they don't lose him.
The downside to tagging Maclin would be that the Eagles would owe him a fully-guaranteed 2015 salary of nearly $13 million. On the other hand, the Eagles can tag Maclin to prevent him from leaving and still work on negotiating a long-term contract in the meantime. Philadelphia employed this similar strategy when they tagged DeSean Jackson in 2012 and Michael Vick in 2010.
Beyond the Maclin situation, it will be interesting to see which other big name players around the league get hit with the tag. Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant is already expected to be franchised, for example.
It will be interesting to see how things play out. Not too much time left now...