The NFL franchise tag deadline passed at 1:00 p.m. PT, and as expected, the 49ers elected to not franchise Dashon Goldson. We did not have a ton of players tagged this year, but a few notable ones. Here is the list of players who received the franchise tag for 2013:
1. Jairus Byrd, S, Bills
2. Henry Melton, DT, Bears
3. Michael Johnson, DE, Bengals
4. Anthony Spencer, LB, Cowboys
5. Ryan Clady, OT, Broncos
6. Pat McAfee, P, Colts
7. Branden Albert, OT, Chiefs
8. Randy Starks, DT, Dolphins
Naturally my favorite franchise tag goes to the Colts decision to tag punter Pat McAfee. I figured the 49ers would have been one of the first to franchise a punter, but thankfully they worked out a long term extension last year before Andy Lee hit free agency.
McAfee's franchise tag salary would be $2,977,000. For comparison's sake, Andy Lee's 2013 salary will be $1.8 million, but his cap figure will be $4,050,000. That covers the salary plus $500,000 in prorated signing bonus plus a $1,750,000 roster bonus. Over the course of the contract, this should be Lee's highest cap figure.
The Branden Albert franchise tag decision is an intriguing one for the Chiefs. There was a lot of talk they would let Albert walk, potentially franchise Dwayne Bowe and then draft Luke Joeckel. I imagine they could still go offensive line at the top of the draft, but if not, where else do they go? I imagine Alex Smith will be lobbying fairly hard for the team to re-sign Dwayne Bowe, but without the franchise tag on him, it opens the door for all sorts of changes.