The Buffalo Bills had to retain DB Jairus Byrd, a talented young safety who is crucial to their defense. He was franchise tagged, along with several other players around the league.
The franchise tag frenzy kicked off. Let’s see who has gotten the tag thus far and why.
Buffalo Bills: DB Jairus Byrd
Byrd, who will be entering his fourth season in the NFL, already has established a name for himself in pro football. To say the least, he is a ballhawk. In 2009, his rookie season, the 26-year old used his talents to notch nine interceptions. Since then, the former Oregon Duck has been fantastic. The Bills had to keep Byrd, and now have a shot to launch a long-term deal with their Pro Bowl defensive back.
Chicago Bears: DT Henry Melton
Melton, a 26-year old disruptive interior defensive lineman, recked havoc in 2012. He had 43 combined tackles, six sacks, and two forced fumbles. Since he is so young yet so useful, the Bears used their franchise tag on Melton to keep him in Chicago for at least one more year.
Cincinnati Bengals: DE Michael Johnson
Johnson was a beast for Cincy in 2012. The 26-year old defensive end was a fierce pass rusher, as he compiled 52 combined tackles, 11.5 sacks, and an interception. He is a furious force around the exterior trenches, and his 6’7″, 270-pound frame only adds to his upside. Cincy gave him the franchise tag, and need him in the future if they want a top-tier pass rush.
Dallas Cowboys: LB Anthony Spencer
This was a surprise move from America’s Team. It certainly was unexpected, but Spencer is a talented veteran. Spenser was extremely productive last year. He racked up 95 combined tackles last season, and the former Purdue Boilermaker is expected to replicate his success in 2013.
Denver Broncos: OT Ryan Clady
Clady has been a pass-blocking powerhouse for Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning, and a stout run blocker for whoever is running in a Bronco uniform. The 26-year old former Boise State Bronco had a rough 2011 campaign, but returned to his elite status in 2012 while playing for the illustrious Manning.
Indianapolis Colts: P Pat McAfee
McAfee has a career 45.5 yard punt average and also possesses a career 39.9 yard net punt average. Indeed, McAfee was valuable to the Colts in 2012 (he had a career high 48.2 punt yard average)—especially for the defensive unit. McAfee is a superb special teams asset for Indy.
Kansas City Chiefs: OT Brandon Albert
Albert, a 28-year old, 6’5″, 316-pound monster, was a bright spot on the blemished 2012 Chiefs. Albert will pass block for to-be acquired QB Alex Smith. Albert played in 13 games last year and started 11, respectively.
Miami Dolphins: DT Randy Starks
Starks, an eight-year veteran out of Maryland, was an interior force in the trenches. He made 27 combined tackles. He also notched 4.5 sacks. He is a disruptive pass rusher, and the ‘Phins hope he will continue his success in 2013.
[For further free agent transactions, hit up this link]