Will the Seahawks use the franchise tag this offseason?

Monday begins the two-week period in which NFL teams can use the franchise tag. That means between now and March 3, the Seahawks (and every other team) can assure the return of any one free agent by placing the franchise tag on that player. The question now is whether or not the Seahawks use the tag, something they’ve only done once under Pete Carroll and John Schneider, placing it on kicker Olindo Mare in 2010.

For a quick reminder, the franchise tag is essentially a one-year deal based on the average salaries of the five highest paid players at a give position. It’s more complex than that, and if you want to read more about it, here’s a good breakdown from CBSSports.com, but the short version is that a team will pay a lot of money to keep a player around for one year, and that player, who would rather get a big multi-year deal with a good chunk of guaranteed money, isn’t likely to be too happy about the franchise tag. In other words, the franchise tag isn’t usually an ideal situation for either player or team, but sometimes teams feel the need to use it to keep an important player around when the two sides can’t agree to a long-term deal (Walter Jones might ring a bell for Seahawks fans).

Of the Seahawks free agents, the two who are most important to keep are defensive lineman Michael Bennett and receiver Golden Tate. The official franchise numbers won’t be released until later, but the above mentioned CBS Sports article estimates the tag for a receiver would be $11.539 million, while the number for a defense end is $12.475 million and $9.182 million for a defensive tackle. I list both defensive line numbers because I’m honestly not sure how Bennett would be classified if he were to be franchised. He’s usually listed as an end, and spent most of his time there in Tampa Bay before this season, but Bennett played both as an end and as an interior pass rusher this season, and as the season went on, played more extensively inside than out.

Either way, it’s hard to see the Seahawks franchising Bennett at either number, and both they and he would certainly prefer it if a long-term deal could get done to keep him around longer (and from Bennett’s standpoint, guarantee more money). The franchise tag seems even less likely for Tate, who while very productive this past season as a receiver and punt returner, wouldn’t be worth more than $11 million to a team that already has a ton of money tied up in Percy Harvin.

I’m of the belief that both Tate and Bennett will be back, but I don’t see either returning under the franchise tag.

So does that mean the Seahawks won’t use the tag? Not necessarily. As was the case in 2010, the one position it could happen is at kicker, with Steven Hauschka set to become an unrestricted free agent. The projected number for a kicker is $3.383 million, a big sum for that position to be sure, but not necessarily a prohibitively high number if it means keeping one of the league’s most accurate kickers. The Seahawks would rather keep Hauschka around at a lower average salary, but just might be willing to pay the franchise number if it’s the only way to keep him.

More in Sports

Window opens for Seahawks to franchise tag DT Richardson

Seattle must decide whether to use the expensive tag or let the defensive tackle test free agency.

Cascade alum Souza traded from Rays to Diamondbacks

Arizona sends Brandon Drury to the Yankees in the three-team deal involving the former local prep star.

Phelps hoping for healthy season in Mariners’ bullpen

Seattle acquired the veteran to help an overworked staff last year, but injuries derailed the plan.

Seattle begins season-ticket campaign for new NHL team

Beginning March 1, people can make refundable deposits for season tickets at NHLSeattle.com.

Local soccer players sacrifice to play with Sounders Academy

The talented youngsters say playing with the Academy has made them better people as well as players.

Paxton, not Felix, deserves Opening Day start for Mariners

Could Seattle’s marriage to the longtime star pitcher be heading for the rocks?

Q&A with Shorecrest High School’s hoops leader Julia Strand

Back from a knee injury last year, she’s everywhere on offense and anchors the Scots’ defense.

Silvertips travel to Spokane in matchup of in-form teams

Everett has lost once in regulation in its past 19 games, and the Chiefs have won three straight.

Pairings announced for regional basketball playoffs

Lynnwood and Stanwood girls face each other Saturday at Jackson High School

Most Read