The NFL window for applying the franchise tag officially began this morning. NFL rules allow for the franchise tag to be placed anytime between 22 days before the league year and eight days before the league year. With a March 12 start to the league year (also when free agency begins), that gives us a window of February 18 to March 4.
For the 49ers, that means deciding what to do with Dashon Goldson. Jason Hurley broke down the dollars and it obviously makes more sense financially to get a long-term deal done. Of course, that all depends on the two sides figuring out numbers that are equitable for each party.
Goldson has indicated he does not want to play under the franchise tag again, which makes sense. Although he would get a salary of close to $7.5 million, he would not get the semi-security of a long term deal. NFL long-term deals are far from secure, but it would net him a good deal more money as the team would be unlikely to cut him early in the deal.
The team is likely working to get a deal done, which means they will not be applying the tag right away. If they cannot get a deal done before March 4, then they would apply the tag to buy some additional time. The team would have until mid-July to get a long-term deal done.
However, if they can get a deal done before March 4, they could conceivably use the tag elsewhere. Mike Florio suggested Delanie Walker as one such option if the 49ers wanted to keep him at whatever cost. The tight end tag sits at $5.962 million. Walker's 2012 cap number was a little over $2 million. Vernon Davis' is looking at a 2013 salary of just over $6 million. Would they really commit $12 million to their two tight ends?
It's just one more option, but it seems an unlikely one. I guess it just depends on how badly they want to keep Walker.