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Franchise Tag Window Opens Today. Will Ravens Use It?

Posted Feb 15, 2017

Baltimore has a history of using the franchise tag to prolong contract talks, but it seems unlikely that they’ll use it this year. Defensive tackle Brandon Williams would be the most likely candidate.

Beginning today, teams can place the franchise tag on key free agents.

Teams have until March 1 to designate a franchise or transition player. There were 10 such tags used across the league last year, including on kicker Justin Tucker, who later reached a long-term extension.

The Ravens have also previously used the tag on guard Wally Williams (1998), cornerback Chris McAlister (2003, 2004), outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (2008, 2009), defensive tackle Haloti Ngata (2011) and running back Ray Rice (2012).

But will the Ravens use it this year?

The most likely player to get tagged would be defensive tackle Brandon Williams, though it’s not  expected.

Williams would reportedly carry a projected $13.5 million salary next season if he played under the one-year tag. That would give him the second-highest cap hit on the Ravens in 2017.

The Ravens have said they want to retain Williams because he’s a “rock” in the middle of their defense and a big reason why they’ve been so successful stopping the run. At 27 years old and coming off his third year as a starter, Williams is entering his prime.

Even if Baltimore doesn’t place the tag on Williams, it could still re-sign him before he hits the open market.

In the latest franchise tag projection from NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal, Williams lands in the “Coin flips that land on ‘no tag’” category.

Right tackle Rick Wagner would reportedly cost $14.4 million for one season under the tag and fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who would be classified as a running back, would come with a $12.4 million price tag. Those are all steep numbers for the Ravens, who may be tight against the cap.

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