Michael Hickey-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Franchise Tag Deadline 2013: Bowe Or Albert?

The NFL franchise tag deadline is today at 4 PM eastern time and that means the Kansas City Chiefs are running out of time to lock up WR Dwayne Bowe and LT Branden Albert.

The Chiefs have had two weeks to use the tag but time runs out this afternoon. Some teams have already use the tag, including the Bears, Bengals, Broncos, Bills and Colts.

Unless the Chiefs have a pile of contracts already complete, they will be using the tag on someone today. The whispers around NFL circles indicate that WR Dwayne Bowe will be tagged for the second straight year.

But Bowe isn’t the only candidate. LT Branden Albert, P Dustin Colquitt and DE Glenn Dorsey are all scheduled to hit free agency this offseason. To date, the Chiefs have not yet announced that they have re-signed any of those players.

Here is what to expect:

1. A player gets franchised

One of the above players is almost certain to get franchised. But that isn’t the end of contract discussions. The Chiefs and still negotiate with the player until July 15th. If the two sides are able to work out a long-term deal after the tag is applied and before the July 15th deadline, the tag will be tossed aside and the player will play under the new deal.

If the two sides are not able to come to a long-term agreement, the franchised player has to play under the one-year franchise deal or not at all.

2. A player doesn’t get tagged

If the Chiefs tag Dwayne Bowe and not Branden Albert, they can still sign Albert to a long-term deal. But they will be under the gun. Free agency doesn’t start until March 12th but other NFL teams will be able to start talking contracts with impending free agents at midnight this Friday/first thing Saturday morning.

There is a new rule that basically allows a legalized tampering period of three days. So Albert would be able to negotiate with suitors Saturday, Sunday and Monday until free agency starts at 4 PM eastern time, at which point he would be free to sign with any team.

Chances are, the players that don’t receive the tag will want to test the open market, unless the Chiefs offer them a deal that blows them away.

Think about it. Say the Chiefs are currently offering Branden Albert $7 million a year for 5 years. Then let’s say the Chiefs franchise Bowe. Now Albert knows he is going to hit free agency if he wants. Why shouldn’t he wait until Friday night/Saturday morning to see what the market has to offer. Even if he wants to stay in Kansas City, it would be wise for Albert to find out what he is worth. If say, the Raiders call him and offer him $9 million a year, Albert can come back to the Chiefs and see if the home team will match the offer.

Essentially, once the Chiefs place a tag on a player, they lose their leverage with the other guys.

3. The Chiefs could use the non-exclusive franchise tag

The Chiefs have two versions of the franchise tag they can use. If they place the “exclusive franchise tag” on a player, that player cannot negotiate with any other teams. The player must either sign the franchise tag or work out a long-term deal with the Chiefs before July 15th.

If the Chiefs place the “non-exlusive franchise tag” on a player, that player is free to negotiate a contact with other teams. The Chiefs would them be given the opportunity to match the offer the player receives. If the Chiefs match the offer, the player stays in KC. If the Chiefs refuse to match the offer, the team that submitted the offer must surrender two first-round draft picks to the Chiefs.

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We will be monitoring the transactions throughout the day. News will begin to leak out as teams notify the league of which players they are tagging.

Stay tuned.

Last chance to place your bets? Who gets it? Bowe, Albert, Colquitt or Dorsey?

I’m going with Bowe.

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Tags: Kansas City Chiefs

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