Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Mar 2012

Franchise Tag Thread

DeSean Jackson (franchised by Eagles)
Tyvon Branch (franchised by Raiders)
Mike Wallace (reportedly will not be franchised by Steelers)

The tag seemed like an inevitable resolution for Jackson's scenario, especially with how he ruined his market value with his pouting last season. The Raiders are already over the cap, but Branch's ~$6.2 million tag isn't a killer and they were going to have to get rid of a lot of money anyway.

Wallace's scenario is precarious if you're a Steelers fan. The tag would have guaranteed him around $9.5 million, and the Steelers have all but guaranteed that they are going to keep him through the press, but they could stand to lose a lot if someone can make the terms onerous for them to match. It's definitely a bit of a gamble.

Dashon Goldson (franchised by 49ers)
Brent Grimes (franchised by Falcons)
Phil Dawson (franchised by Browns ... again.)
Mike Nugent (franchised by Bengals)
Calais Campbell (franchised by Cardinals)
Fred Davis (franchised by Redskins)
Ray Rice (franchised by Ravens)
Matt Forte (franchised by Bears)

Drew Brees (franchised by Saints)

Cliff Avril (franchised by Lions)
Connor Barth (franchised by Buccaneers)
Dwayne Bowe (franchised by Chiefs)
Robert Mathis (franchised by Colts, later signed four-year, $36 million contract with a $15 million signing bonus)
Matt Prater (franchised by Broncos)
Josh Scobee (franchised by Jaguars)
Anthony Spencer (franchised by Cowboys)
Steve Weatherford (franchised by Giants)
Wes Welker (franchised by Patriots)

Is this the first franchised punter ever?

More as it comes in.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 05 Mar 2012

83 comments, Last at 07 Mar 2012, 3:51pm by tuluse


by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 9:16am

The Rams should consider flipping the Giants a 5th rounder or something to move from #33 to #32 and offering Wallace a contract.

by Harris :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:28am

That would be a nifty bit of marketplace ninjitsu. I'm not a Rams fan but that would delight me to no end.

by Dean :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:32am

So basically, that would be the second pick in the draft, PLUS the 33 pick and a late rounder AND a new contract for Wallace? He's good. He's not worth that. As much as the Rams need a WR, even the 2nd pick alone would be overpaying.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:40am

I think he's suggesting that the rams would give the Steelers the 32nd pick for Wallace. I'm not certain that's how it works though.

by Gabriel (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:59am

They're putting him on a first round tender as a restricted free agent, so any team that wants to sign him has to give the Steelers a first-rounder for the right to do so. Obviously, the Rams would rather give up their second-rounder and a 5th-rounder (as was suggested) than their 2nd overall pick. Aren't the Rams pretty hard up against the cap, though?

by Dean :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:23pm

Isn't the compensation for signing a franchise player two first round picks?

by cbirkemeier :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:35pm

Mike Wallace probably isn't being given the franchise tag. He's probably getting a 1st-round tender.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:22pm

As implied by other responders, Wallace is a restricted free agent with a 1st round tender, as the Steelers chose not to tag him. Unless I am mistaken about the way restricted free agency works, I am proposing giving up only the second and fifth round picks and the substantial contract. Clearly that is still a high price, but not, I think, a ludicrous one.

by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:30pm

The Steelers, of course, can trade their rights in Wallace to anyone they please. The Rams' pick in the second round is #34, only two picks after the last first-round pick. A fifth round pick is probably a little light for the difference so some other consideration would be needed (a higher pick or a player).

The Steelers have a lot more flexibility than others appreciate. The first-round tender will put off all but a team looking for a long-term deal. Even if another team provides an offer, the Steelers have a right-of-first-refusal, so they can choose to match the offer. So it is impossible to tell whether the Steelers would want more than a first-round pick to let go of Wallace or whether they are trying to save the half-million dollars the first-and-third tender would have cost them.

So a first round pick might be a floor, it might be a ceiling, or the Steelers might match any offer for Wallace. None of us can tell.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 3:05pm

There is no first and third tender any more, and the Steelers couldn't afford the franchise tag for cap reasons. And the Rams' second round pick is #33. This was the greatest restriction the Steelers could place on Wallace. And their cap situation is still extremely tight. A team with more 2012 cap room could almost certainly create a contract which they saw as reasonable and the Steelers couldn't match.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 3:43pm

A restricted free agent is not obligated to sign the higher offer is he? I mean if Wallace were tendered, then some team offering him a bigger contract and the Steelers couldn't match but could _almost_ match. Wallace is free to choose between the alternatives, right? It's just if the Steelers were to match the contract completely that his choice is removed.

by tuluse :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 4:03pm

It doesn't work quite like that. Wallace isn't obligated to sign any deal he doesn't want to, despite what Haynesworth might think, NFL players are not slaves. However, once he signs a deal, he has agreed to play for that team. The only difference is that, as a RFA after signing a deal, the Steelers have the option to match.

So, if he is offered a deal he likes, he can take that to the Steelers as a bargaining tool, as any free agent could. Once he signs it, it's just like signing any contract.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 8:06pm

That's what I thought. That seems to take some of the threat out of losing him. The dangerous thing to the Steelers is a contract that they can't match because of short term cap pressure. That could have been done via poison pill, which are now banned, or something that requires year one payment, like a big roster bonus. But from Wallace's perspective, he doesn't care if he gets a bunch of money up front as a roster bonus that all counts against that year's cap or he gets a bunch of money up front as a signing bonus that gets amortized over five years of cap.

by ChicagoRaider :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 5:25pm

Sorry for the mistake about first and third.

All in all, it means that good teams could think about taking a shot at Wallace for a long-term deal. Several years of Wallace at a price less than his pure free-agent price (after all, getting more money in 2012 is worth something to him) for a winning team could be worth more than a high first-round pick to a team. For teams with bad records and high picks, and low attractiveness to Wallace, there is not much ability to go after Wallace. They would have to negotiate with the Steelers.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:38am

Are you sure that would work and they wouldn't have to give up the second pick? I'd want to be sure.

by Mr Shush :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:19pm

Reasonably sure, though obviously if I'm wrong about that it's not a good idea at all.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 4:41pm

They'd have to give up their original pick. That works both ways; the Patriots would give up the 31 spot.

by Jimmy :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 7:38pm

Hmmm not sure about that one. It would only take Mike Wallace two seconds to run further than Bradford can throw the ball.

by Tim R :: Sat, 03/03/2012 - 1:42pm

Really? Bradford's deep balls looked pretty good on the rare occasion he's had longer than 2 seconds to throw the ball. His problem's more been getting injured and not having any wide receivers that can get open, go deep, or catch the ball, on top of having a dreadful offensive line. Having to play from behind almost every game doesn't help either.

by Jimmy :: Sat, 03/03/2012 - 9:48pm

I don't think we are going to agree on this one. I think Bradford's arm strength is a limiting factor in his game. I think he is accurate and has excellent ball placement but that the ball takes forever to get where it is going (at least with the athleticism of nfl defenders), to throw deep it has to be a rainbow pass. Vincent Jackson might make sense with his height but I would think Wallace would be more productive elsewhere.

by mrbusche :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:29pm

just an FYI since it seems some may be confused. if a team signs Wallace they have to give up their 1st round pick. The Rams would have to give up the 2nd pick to get Wallace even if they had the 32nd pick in the draft as well.

by Peregrine :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 12:41pm

No surprise that the Falcons tagged CB Brent Grimes. This guy is an amazing story - undrafted free agent from Shippensburg who has, unlike a lot of players, improved every season. Not sure if I want him for five years, but I definitely want him back next year.

The Patriots really should go for Wallace. Fills the biggest hole on their offense, hurts a dangerous rival, and the price would be the #31 pick and some cash they probably need to spend anyway.

Lastly, I fully support Tom Condon trying to get as much $$$$ for Drew Brees as he can. YOUR CLIENT DESERVES EVERY PENNY YOU CAN GET!!!!!

by Kanguru (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:57pm

I doubt the Patriots will sign Wallace ...

First of all, some people in the league believe Mike Wallace is a one-trick pony. His performance declined last season. Some DCs believe they have figured him out.

Secondly, and more importantly, the Patriots would ship a first round pick to the Steelers, who need to rebuild parts of their team due to age and salary cap issues. The Steelers have a above average receiving corps, even if they lose Mike Wallace, they should be save.

So, I don't think the Patriots would give the Steelers a high pick to make them better.

by Peregrine :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 4:36pm

Can't believe I'm playing GM for the Patriots - like they need another one - but whatever.

Wallace might be a one-trick pony, but that trick fits perfectly with what New England needs on offense. They've got the dink and dunk short passing, the dangerous TEs, and the sneaky effective running game, but a guy like Wallace would make it all just a little bit better in addition to his own production. And last I checked, the idea was to win Super Bowls.

And giving the Steelers #31 for Wallace is still a good deal. To start with, there's about a 50% chance that the player won't be anything more than league-average.

by Rabbit :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 7:56pm

There's also a 50% chance that Wallace bombs in NE. I don't think there's a snowball's chance in hell that Belichick gives up a 1st rounder for Wallace. He's a value guy, and a 1st rounder plus the money Wallace wants is poor value.

by Noah Arkadia :: Sat, 03/03/2012 - 11:37am

There's a 50% chance that Wallace bombs in NE? How come? Belichik ought to know he's not a very good drafter, it seems like a good deal for the Pats to me.

We are number one. All others are number two, or lower.

by Jeff M. (not verified) :: Sat, 03/03/2012 - 5:57pm

I guess you're defining "bombing" as something like a pro bowl selection but not all-pro, right?

Because otherwise I think it's pretty crazy to suggest a 26-yo receiver who has put up 30%/50%/30% DVOA and who would be moving to a team with better QB, better OL, and better complementary weapons has that low of an expected value. The money might be a concern, but absent the money, in expectation Wallace would be a FANTASTIC value for a top-5 pick (I'd put it at <5% odds that Blackmon outperforms him over the next 5 years), much less one in the 30s.

by Rabbit :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 9:31am

Not really. Bombing, to me, is something along the lines of: 15/276/1

I've read that Wallace doesn't particularly get off the line or make his cuts well by people far more studious then me. That and my observations that while quick, smallish receivers able to gain separation in the flat are the Pats offense's best friends, speed merchants like Wallace streaking down the sideline aren't. That was Underwood's role since week 13 and, not to say he's anywhere near Wallace's class, he was targeted just 6 times.

In an offense of efficiency and precision where incompletions lead to lost downs, the Pats don't seem to have much use for a guy like Wallace, who may be one of the better deep threats, but still caught only 41% of those balls thrown to him.

He's not going to like this offense and, chances are, this offense is not going to like him. That's a prescription for failure.

by Jimmy :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 10:13am

That implies that the pats offence tends to ignore the deep routes almost entirely if they are not run by either Gronkowski or Moss-of-old. It always amazes me how teams let Belichick get away with this but having said that they are extremely good at the short stuff and rotating their targets so that the receiver is fresh enough to pick up yac.

by tuluse :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 2:28pm

What if the Rams trade their pick?

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 7:03am

I'd like to know that too. Maybe you just can't bid on RFAs in that situation?

by IAmJoe :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 9:59pm

I can't say for sure about the NFL, but I know the way that RFA works in the NHL is that in order to sign a RFA to a certain draft pick compensation (in the NHL, draft pick compensation for an RFA is contingent on the amount of compensation given the player in the contract, and can range from things like a 3rd, a 2nd, a 1st, 1/3, and so on, all the way up to I think 3 1st round picks. In the NHL, you cannot sign a guy to a tender that would, for example, cost your 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round picks, if your team is missing its 2nd. The contract would be deemed invalid. I don't remember who did it, but a few years ago, I remember a team had to buy back a second round pick of theirs that they had previously dealt away, in order to attempt to sign a guy or threaten to sign a guy to a RFA contract.

I'd imagine the NFL works similarly, specifically so that you can't play games like trading for the #32 pick and using that for a RFA tender, instead of your own, more attractive pick.

by dryheat :: Wed, 03/07/2012 - 12:19pm

I believe that the Redskins made that trade with the Patriots. Something like they gave the Patriots a 5th and future 2nd for a 4th.

by Sander :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 6:54am

Then they're out of luck. The compensation needs to be equal to (or better) than their original pick. If they don't have such a pick, they can't make the offer.

by PeterJMoss :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:25pm

Redskins tag Fred Davis as per LaConfora.

by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:38pm

Hmm, makes me wonder what that means for Cooley.

by 0tarin :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 3:40pm

Ravens have reportedly tagged Ray Rice, as expected.

by Dean :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 5:18pm

And the Bengals use their franchise tag on a kicker.

by Anonymous1213 (not verified) :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 6:17pm

Can anyone explain to me why teams franchise their kickers so often? If you like a guy so much, why not just give him a 3-year contract?

by tuluse :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 7:01pm

Because kicker tags are cheap, and it's only for one year, so there is almost no risk to the team.

by Marko :: Fri, 03/02/2012 - 11:49pm

You can't just "give" a guy a 3-year contract. He has to agree to it. If you can't agree on terms, you're not going to be able to sign him to a 3-year contract.

by Tim R :: Sat, 03/03/2012 - 1:48pm

And I don't think tags are guarenteed at all so if he suddenly starts sucking you can cut him without any penalty.

by tuluse :: Sat, 03/03/2012 - 2:43pm

I'm pretty sure they are guaranteed, but again, it's a one year deal so it's very little risk.

by akn :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 12:24am

Of course franchise tags are fully guaranteed--that's the price the team pays for taking away a player's free agency rights.

by Anonymous12342 (not verified) :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 5:40pm

I'm pretty sure that most kickers would take a 3-year deal in exchange for 20%+ more in guarantees. It just seems that teams don't offer kickers long-term deals.

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Sat, 03/03/2012 - 5:02pm

If anyone will give up a low(ish) 1st round pick to snag Wallace, I'd guess the Bears. They have the need, the cap space to offer a front loaded deal that the Steelers coudn't match, and a QB that can hit him downfield.

The Niners have the need and the cap space and a low pick to give but could Alex Smith get the ball to Wallace?

by theslothook :: Sat, 03/03/2012 - 9:25pm

I cant understand people saying that the patriots need a speedy wideout who runs deep. Did you know historically, brady's deep passing attempts have been pretty constant for most of his career...ranging in the bottom half the league even when he had moss and stalworth? In fact, did you know which year he attempted the most deep passes in his career? 2006 with receivers like andrew caldwell and jabar gaffney. The reason was because his short pass ypa was close to the bottom of his career.

Translation- brady and the ne pass offense isn't built for deep attacking routes. ITs short centric, attacking the middle of the field and so a receiver like wallace- who will no doubt improve ne's deep passing numbers, won't have the impact worth the cost. He just doesn't fit ne's offense. They'd be better off getting a younger version of deon branch and finding a cheaper torrie smith/brandon tate like receiver for the occasional platooned deep threat.

by Noah Arkadia :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 11:39am

One of the ways teams stopped the NE defense last year was by leaving the outside WRs one-on-one and clogging up the inside. Numbers don't tell the whole story in this context. It's not about becoming a deep-strike attack. If they had an outside threat, it would make their offense that much more effective.

We are number one. All others are number two, or lower.

by jackgibbs :: Sun, 03/04/2012 - 3:58pm

exactly. the real value of a moss/wallace is not his ability to make spectacular deep plays, it's to, in moss' words, 'take the top off the defense.' having a guy who can not just burn down the field, but is an actual threat to catch the ball forces the safties out of the middle of the field, even if they never actually get targeted.

ochocinco was probably supposed to fill this role, but the dunce can't read a playbook

by Mr Shush :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 7:05am

Wallace would be a very expensive way to do that, though. Lloyd would probably have much the same effect, for a lower salary and without the need to give up a pick. Wallace has more value to a team that really needs a receiver, not just a decoy.

by jackgibbs :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 11:47am

yeah. I don't really think there's a chance wallace will be going to new england. nothing I've seen from belichick over the years suggests it's the type of move he'd make. although if ever there was a time to sell out for the short term in the expense of the long term, it's now, with brady aging and two young borderline elite tight ends, and wes welker probably getting franchised

lloyd sounds intriguing though

by rich31689 (not verified) :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 5:17pm

This decision should not be over-thought. If the Pats can get Wallace, they should. He is the missing piece in their offense, they need to maximize the end of the Brady era, they have plenty of picks, and they would give up the 31st. His departure would hurt the Steelers. Seems like a no-brainer.

by RickD :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 5:39pm

"Lloyd would probably have much the same effect, for a lower salary and without the need to give up a pick."


by Purds :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 2:56pm

Then get Garcon from the Colts. He's a burner, and he can't catch the ball, so he fits perfectly as the deep threat bluff. Of course, he thinks he's actually good and wants a ridiculous contract the Colts were not willing to give him, yet.

by Drunkmonkey :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 4:17pm

I think the amount the Colts have offered him so far is about what he's probably going to get, at the most, and that he probably knows that, but A) he wants to see if he can't get a little bit more, and B) reports have stated that he just wants out of Indy.

by Mr Shush :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 5:20pm

I think for a player to even work as a decoy, the defense has to believe there's at least a possibility he'll catch the ball. Garcon's verging on Troy Williamson territory.

by Purds :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 9:53pm

I completely agree with you two. I mentioned Garçon in jest. He's the epitome of a deep threat decoy and no more.

by rfh1001 :: Wed, 03/07/2012 - 6:38am

Well, he caught 70 balls last year for 947 yards and 6 touchdowns. That's not *nothing*. Maybe a whole load of quick guys could have done the same when playing game after game of junk time, but they seem like numbers at least worthy of pause for thought.

I suppose I mean: he seems exactly like a plausible deep threat who, while by no means elite, would keep a defense honest.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 03/07/2012 - 7:46am

It's the -27 DYAR and -15.2% DVOA on 134 passes that would bother me.* That, and the fact that the Texans have been known to let Kareem Jackson go man-to-man on Garcon without safety help, and it doesn't even scare me that much when they do. That's tantamount to a declaration that they don't think he's worth covering.

*I'm not a big fan of FO's individual WR stats, but when they say a guy's production is below replacement level on 134 passes, it really does suggest he's not very good.

by rfh1001 :: Wed, 03/07/2012 - 10:25am

Yes. I mean, I do get that the F/O numbers are striking. And so it really might be that almost any receiver could do what Garcon is doing. And yet. Basically, 'and yet'. I just don't think that if you plugged in [Any. Old. Receiver.] you would get the same level of production.

I've thought since he arrived on the scene that Garcon is someone really, really hard to value. And maybe that difficulty follows through to the F/O stats. I don't have an answer, and I'm scared of getting into it because I'm pretty much the most ignorant poster here, but there's something about the guy, and I think that something is worth something. I'll stop. I'm getting technical.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 03/07/2012 - 12:52pm

I know what you mean, and I certainly don't think you could plug any receiver in there and get the same results. But I think there are quite a lot of receivers you could plug in there and get similar results, and most of them won't want paying as much as Garcon. Fast guys with bad hands are common enough that paying for the one with most past production is a good route to overpaying.

by RickD :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 5:19pm

I've been saying this for months.

Yes, of course, the Pats would be better if they had an elite deep threat. But it's not an offense tailored for that kind of threat. And as we saw in the last two games of the playoffs, Brady isn't ideal at making long connections.

Given the large number of problems that the defense has, I don't understand why so many people think that the offense needs "fixing", given that it scored well over 500 points during the regular season.

In any case, I think we've seen in recent years that there are young WRs to be found if you can find them. I'm more concerned with a secondary that has massive depth problems.

Finally, given that the Pats are likely to pay Welker a lot of money, I don't see them putting a lot of money into a second WR. And let's not forget they still have Ochocinco on the roster, and even if he's cut he'll count $3 million against the cap. Maybe he could use the next six months to learn the playbook?

by Kanguru (not verified) :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 7:40pm

Ocho will count 4.5m against the cap.

I think it is stupid for the Patriots to franchise Welker ... yes, I know he is good.

a) more than enough short yardage receivers (you may have your own opinion on whether Brady is able to throw a decent deep ball which isn't off by at least 5 yds)
b) they need to pay him like a no 1 receiver, but he is 30+, has had a major injury, and is getting beat up every game, every down. He always declines at the end of the season.
c) no money for a deep threat. Bill has never drafted a decent WR. Bethel Johnson, anyone?
d) push Brady out of his comfort zone (most important point for me).
e) no money left to spend on D ... Cortland Finnegan (hate him), VJax (hate him), Mario Williams (they should have made a run at Julius Peppers), Carr.

All the safeties are tagged. Bummer.

Even Brandon Lloyd might be too expensive. And look at that receiving corps. Welker, Ochocinco, Lloyd. Silly.

by masoch (not verified) :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 11:19pm

Actually, B) is EXACTLY why they tagged him, I think.

They get to keep Welker, while he's still productive, with essentially no risk, without having to negotiate/match a legitimate market offer that would involve multiple years and (most likely) more guaranteed money.

by RickD :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 6:45pm

Ocho won't cost the full $4.5 million if he's cut.


a) somehow, in spite of the surplus of short yardage receivers, no other short receiver has come close to duplicating Welker's numbers over recent years. Also, no other short yardage receiver has had half as much success working with Brady.
Welker is pretty good.

b) Welker had a major injury over two years ago. Since then he's had his best two seasons. "He always declines at the end of the season." Whatever. He was still #1 in receptions and #2 in yardage in the NFL.

c) Bird in the hand? I suppose the Pats could toss away the WR who excels in the system and go fishing for another WR free agent. He might do as well as Ochocinco. Or Joey Galloway. Or Donte' Stallworth. Sure, he might be Randy Moss. But actually, he wouldn't be Randy Moss. The 30-year old Randy Moss isn't out there to be had. If Fitz or Megatron were on the market, I'd say go for it.

d) I don't understand this point. You want to get rid of Welker because Brady is too comfortable with him? Maybe he should throw left-handed? If discomfort is the goal here.

e) I think BB has done better as a GM than you would. Peppers was very expensive and the Pats didn't want to spend that much money. I would love it if they brought in Mario Williams, but not at the expense of giving up Welker, who will be far less expensive.
No chance in hell they go after Cortland Finnegan, and I don't see the logic of casting Welker away in favor of Vincent Jackson. Yes, Jackson is bigger, but Welker has been far more productive in recent years.

The notion that players are easily replaced comes from too much fantasy football. You don't jettison first team All-Pros. It's bad for a number of reasons. The Pats' defense still hasn't recovered from Richard Seymour's departure.

by Jimmy :: Wed, 03/07/2012 - 10:23am

It would be difficult for other receivers to have carried out the Welker role when Welker has been performing it.

by tuluse :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 5:22pm

I'm not sure Wallace would fit all that well in the Patriots offense either. If they're going to go after a deep threat, I think they'd prefer a leaper so Brady's lack of a great deep ball is less important. Lloyd actually makes a lot of sense. Assuming he can buy into the "Patriot way" and all that jazz.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 8:10pm

While he's better than Brady, Roethlisberger doesn't really have a stellar deep ball either. Separation is as good as a vertical in terms of making the long throw an easier completion.

by Mr Shush :: Wed, 03/07/2012 - 7:41am

Not if the nature of the deep ball problems is persistent under-throwing. Then major separation's as likely to lead to a pick as a catch.

by jackgibbs :: Wed, 03/07/2012 - 11:13am

I still have hope that brady can get his deep ball back. in 2007 he wasn't under throwing randy moss, then after his knee injury he just completely lost it. now without a viable threat down field, he just doesn't have the reps to get his feel for it back. maybe he's too old and it's gone forever, but if he has an actual guy that can get down there, and be at the same depth consistently so brady can get the timing and muscle memory, it could come back. I'm not saying he has a laser, rocket arm; but he is capable of putting the ball 60 yards down field. he just does it late far too often probably because his "deep threat" guys are scrubs that he only looks at as a last resort

by tuluse :: Wed, 03/07/2012 - 2:16pm

Big Ben is one of the best QBs at completing deep passes. They aren't always pretty, but he has a keen awareness of how to get the ball where the receiver can get it. He's also really good at setting up his receivers so their more open than they would be.

by BaronFoobarstein :: Wed, 03/07/2012 - 3:33pm

I agree with all you wrote, but I think it's a bit different than what we normally mean by a good deep ball, which I think generally refers to timeliness and accuracy on a long pass. Sorry if I misinterpreted you.

I'd say Ben completes deep passes for several reasons, including:
- He has a deep threat who is capable of getting excellent separation.
- His extended plays allow receivers to defeat coverage eventually, which means open receivers down field.
- He has an excellent ability to get corners to bite on the wrong route, often with his exceptional pump fake.
- He does have a pretty big arm and can get the ball deep quickly.
- He generally throws at the right area - as in chooses the right target and location (back shoulder, in the air, short, etc.) not that he necessarily always accurately delivers to that area.

What I don't think he does particularly well is drop the long passes in with high accuracy or with precise timing. He'll miss by a few yards and get the ball there a second late, but the other skills make up for it.

by tuluse :: Wed, 03/07/2012 - 3:51pm

I think I agree with you. He's a very unusual QB.

by Danny Tuccitto :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 3:35am

This is not a comment on your argument overall; just wanted to set the factual record straight. You guys can take it from there.

Yes, except for 2010, Brady's number of deep attempts has been pretty steady over time. However, as a percentage of total attempts, it had been steadily decreasing for a few years until an uptick this season:

2005: 20%
2006: 21%
2007: 18%
2009: 15%
2010: 13%
2011: 17%

by nat :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:11am

So in the Patriots offense, short-to-medium passes have displaced runs, not long passes? No surprise there.

by tuluse :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:21am

I'm not sure about that, rushing attempts in the Patriots offense have decreased every year since 2008, but 2007 had fewer rushing attempts than any year other than 2011, which was the lowest number. So the two years with the lowest rushing attempts correspond to higher percentage of deep attempts than the years in between.

by Karl Cuba :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 3:53pm

I assume that these numbers are based on the NFL's classification of a deep pass as any that travels 15+ yards in the air. I'm not criticising FO, I know that you are limited by their standards here but 15 yards isn't that deep, it's barely behind the level of the linebackers.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 8:01pm

And Matt Flynn wins the prize for not being tagged by the Packers.

by justanothersteve :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 8:07pm

I realize it's too late to add to the bargaining agreement. But the union should have added a minimum amount for a franchise tagged player. Maybe all the positions tag number is then averaged and the mean or median becomes the actual minimum franchise tag amount. I don't think franchising kickers or punters is really in the spirit of the tag.

by tuluse :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 8:12pm

2 things:

1) No one cares about kickers

2) I'm not sure the union really cares why owners use the tag, their goal was just to decrease it's usage for star players

by Theo :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 8:31pm

One day, when teams start franchising the second string clipboard holder on the beer tending team, we'll tell stories to each other how the 'franchise' tag was there so teams could hold on to a player who they thought was important to them.

by Temo :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 8:43pm

Anthony Spencer is not even an average LB.

by BigWoody (not verified) :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:30pm

To answer the question.
Per Brad Biggs at NFP, "He's not the first punter to get the franchise tag. The Falcons used it on Michael Koenen previously and the Panthers once exercised the franchise tag on Todd Sauerbrun."