FRANCHISE TAG QUESTIONS ANSWERED
And the answer is (drum roll please) no franchise tag for any Patriot's this year. It may have surprised some Patriot fans, but the team elected not to place the franchise tag on either Aquib Talib or Julian Edelman by the deadline time Monday. Despite the fact the Patriot's are now in negotiations with him, most fans won't be surprised if the Patriots don't meet Edelman's price. It has been reported that the Patriots met with Edelman on Thursday and talks are continuing with last years most consistant receiver..
To lose Talib is a bigger concern, as his loss would cause some serious problems on defense.
Before you panic, take a deep breath...this shouldn't really surprise you. The franchise tag for cornerbacks was $11.8 million on a one-year tender, a significant hit on the team's salary cap. It would be a shock to everyone, including Talib (although he'd be happy), if he got anywhere near that figure in free agency.
Yes, there is risk involved. This means that Talib can go on the open market, without any restrictions, on March 11. His agent actually start negotiating with other teams on March 8 during the "Legal Tampering Period" as Jeff Kane and I discussed on "Patriot's Beat" this past Sunday.
The true market will be established during this period when teams can talk to players without risk of tampering and the current team can guage what the market is for that position.
TALIB IS A RISK
No one questions Talib's skills as, when healthy, one of the best shut down CBs in the NFL. The problem is, no one has seen him healthy for a full season.
In an ESPN.com Insider piece, KC Joyner pointed out the risks a team takes in giving Talib a long term deal at big $$$
1. In 2012, Talib ranked last in the NFL among cornerbacks in yards per attempt against (11.6).
2.He has not played a full 16-game season in his six years in the NFL.
3. His "Hit or miss" ball skills, as evidenced by him going without an interception in his final nine games of 2013.
Of the three categories, the second one is the primary factor that would concern me (Joyner) if I was on the other side of the negotiating table.
PLAYERS DO NOT LIKE THE "FRANCHISE TAG"
Although the franchise tag was agreed to by the players association, most players do not like it. They often react negatively when they are placed in the postition of being "forced" to play for a team, even if the money is good. They want to "test the market" when they have the chance.
There's a good chance placing the tag can cause friction and mistrust in any negotiations underway. Talib has expressed his satisfaction and respect for the Patriots. If they can sign him without losing that "trust" he will be a valuable part of the Patriot's future.
BRENT GRIMES SIGNING COULD IMPACT TALIB'S PRICE
Dolphins CB Brent Grimes signed a four-year contract worth up to $32 million on Monday. Prior to 2013 he had been injury prone too, but played all 16 games last year to increase his value. Grimes played just one game in 2012 because of a season-ending Achilles injury, and played in 12 games in 2011.
Head-to-head, Talib is regarded as a better player...when healthy.
WAIT AND SEE
Nothing says the Patriot's can't still step up to the plate before Martch 11. Last year they used the "legal tampering period" as a tool to get a sense of what Wes Welker was worth on the open market. When negotiations with his agent broke down, they moved forward and signed Danny Amendola.
This does not mean the Patriots will lose Talib. What it does mean is they are making a good management decision to see what the market is and, if not way out of line, pay him to remain in New England
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