Per Adam Schefter via Twitter, the New England Patriots have applied their 2011 franchise tag to Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins which verifies that the tag price for OL is set at $10.1 million for the 2011 season (provided there is one). As offensive linemen move position so often the league does not differentiate franchise tags for tackles, guards and centers, but rather applies a blanket number to all OL. Hence, with Mankins getting $10.1 million this will be the same price for Carolina to apply to tag to C Ryan Kalil.
I can't help but feel that we wont tag Kalil, but rather get a long term deal worked out as soon as a CBA is signed (whenever that will be). The Panthers' center has gone on the record saying he wants to stay in Carolina, and the Panthers value their offensive lineman and get deals done quickly based on the extension Jordan Gross received in 2009. It's my opinion that DE Charles Johnson is still the most likely to receive the franchise tag, as worst case scenario they pay Johnson for one season while addressing the DE position in the draft if it becomes apparent they can't keep him.
There are currently just nine days left for teams to use their franchise tag before the February 23rd deadline, and while we expect the Panthers to use their tag on either Kalil, Johnson or DeAngelo Williams there is a possibility the Panthers hold off on using the franchise tag, a technique several teams are expected to do. We will keep you updated if there are any moves on the Panthers franchise tag front.