As expected, reported and quoted by Kansas City Chiefs general manager John Dorsey, the Chiefs will not use the exclusive rights franchise tag for the 2014 season.
This is the first time since 2010 a player wearing the Chiefs red and gold will enter the season not under the tag. In 2011, linebacker Tamba Hali was saddled with the tag before signing his current contract extension. The following year, in 2012, Dwayne Bowe was hit with the tag before signing his deal last March. Of course last year, left tackle Branden Albert was franchised tagged before hitting free agency.
This leaves the Chiefs with a little bit of wiggle room in regards to signing free agents. With the way NFL contracts work, the team could potentially sign a couple of “big name” free agents, but structure their contracts so there’s not a big “cap hit” in the first year. That would allow the team to bring in more talent at a lower cost. If the team had applied the tag to a player like Albert — the most likley candidate on the team to be tagged — they would owe him nearly $12 million for 2014, sucking every last penny of their current avaialable cap space.
Overall, only a few teams used the tag this year. Here’s a rundown from Adam Caplan:
6 players tagged: Worilds (transition), Mack (transition), Folk (franchise), Orakpo (franchise), J. Graham (franchise), G. Hardy (franchise)
— Adam Caplan (@caplannfl) March 3, 2014
Just because the Chiefs didn’t franchise any players doesn’t mean they’re lost to free agency. Teams still have until 3 PM Arrowhead time on March 11 to work out contract extensions with all of their free agents. After that, though, it’s game on. The next couple of weeks could get a little crazy around here. I urge you to hang on, and enjoy the ride.
Welcome to free agency, Addicts!