I saw some franchise tag numbers for certain positions during the NFL Network pre-game show earlier to day and it got me to thinking as to whether the Panthers might need to use the franchise tag. So I did a little research and I found a site that had one Panther listed in its Top 50 2012 NFL free agents:
TE Greg Olsen (age 27) (Actually thanks to my diligent readers Olsen is off the market, extension has been signed)
So should we use it on Olsen or should we re-sign him to a 4 for 4 year deal? Olsen can be a weapon in this offense there is no doubt. Yet I have also seen the rough edges of Olsen's game, some the issues Bears fans talked about. Untimely drops, fumbling and can be too easy to tackle. Yet his positive contributions usually outweigh the negative. I'd like to see him return and see how better he can get.
I think this says more than anything the good shape the Panthers are in contractually for 2012. They might want to throw a new deal at RB Jonathan Stewart this offseason, at least I hope they do. It might be wise to wait to see how RT Jeff Otah rehabs before sending a new deal his way. I'd love to think Otah will come back and be dominant in 2012 but I would still love to see a high draft pick for the OL.
I've got a list of 2012 and 2013 Panther free agents and the franchise tag values ... after the jump...
From what I see here are the Panthers 2012 free agents:
TE Greg Olsen
OT Geoff Schwartz (Restricted)
OT Garry Williams (Restricted)
OL Mackenzy Bernadeau
LB Dan Conner
LB Thomas Williams (Restricted)
I'm not sure I see anyone worth a franchise tag here but maybe after you look at some numbers you might disagree. First though here's our 2013 free agents:
RB Mike Goodson
WR Steve Smith
OT Jeff Otah
DT Andre Neblett (Restricted)
CB Captain Munnerlyn
I admit I only looked in a couple places for this data so if I missed a player or forgot we signed one of these guys let me know and I will update it.
So here are the franchise tag numbers I saw on the NFL Network showing the reduced value from 2010 to 2011:
Franchise-tag values for 2012Figures for next season by position and players who could be impacted
Quarterback: $14.4 million (down from $16.1 million in 2011, $16.4 million in 2010); Drew Brees
Running back: $7.7 million (down from $9.6 million in 2011, $8.2 million in 2010); Matt Forte, Ray Rice
Wide receiver: $9.4 million (down from 11.4 million in 2011, $9.5 million in 2010);DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson*, Steve Johnson, Wes Welker
Tight end: $5.4 million (down from $7.3 million in 2011, $5.9 million in 2010); Fred Davis, Jermichael Finley
Offensive line: $9.4 million (down from $10.1 million in 2011, $10.7 million in 2010);Ben Grubbs, Carl Nicks
Defensive end: $10.6 million (down from $13 million in 2011, $12.4 million in 2010); Jason Jones, Mario Williams*
Defensive tackle: $7.9 million (down from $12.5 million in 2011; it was $7 million in 2010); Paul Soliai*
Linebacker: $8.8 million (down from $10.1 million in 2011, $9.7 million in 2010); Stephen Tulloch
Cornerback: $10.6 million (down from $13.5 million in 2011; tag was $9.6 million in 2010); Cortland Finnegan, Brent Grimes
Safety: $6.2 million (down from $8.8 million in 2011, $6.5 million in 2010); LaRon Landry
* - Player who'd receive more money because it'd be his second year in a row on the franchise tag, meaning he'd make 120 percent of his 2011 salary
So would you put a franchise tag on Greg Olsen if we had trouble signing him to a new deal? How about Jonathan Stewart or even Jeff Otah?
The good news for the Panthers if you follow the link is that since we most likely won't use the tag it will save us some drama. You can be sure those players who now have to accept these lower numbers are not going to be happy and will most likely hold out. Guys like Forte, Nicks and Rice are looking to get paid and that will not be pretty. I hope we avoid that.