Franchise tag can be applied starting Monday

Franchise tag can be applied starting Monday
February 17, 2014, 12:30 pm
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It's decision-making time in the NFL. Monday marks the first day of the two-week window in which teams can apply the franchise tag.

As far as the Patriots are concerned, the most likely candidate to be tagged would be cornerback Aqib Talib. If Talib were to play under the tag, he would be paid about $11 million. The cost would be steep, but it may be deemed the preferred option over paying the 28-year-old more guaranteed money over the course of a long-term deal or losing him altogether.

The Patriots could also do something they've done in the past in regards to the franchise tag, which is to use it as a tool to buy more time to work out a long-term deal with a particular player. That's the route the team took with kicker Adam Vinateri in 2002 and defensive lineman Vince Wilfork in 2010. Guard Logan Mankins was tagged in 2011 and held out until he got a long-term contract with the Patriots.

The other player who could potentially be seen as a target for the franchise tag would be receiver Julian Edelman. However, it would cost the Patriots about $11 million to keep Edelman under the tag, making that scenario highly unlikely.