By Rich Tandler
Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reported last night that the Redskins will put the franchise tag on Fred Davis prior to the start of free agency next month.
The tight end was having a breakout season in his fourth year in the league when he was suspended for the last four games of the season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. Another violation of the policy could lead to a suspension for an entire year.
The tag might be the best way to give Davis a trial year to see if he can steer clear of trouble before giving him a long-term deal. Although the salary under the franchise tag is fully guaranteed even if a player is suspended, the risk is relatively small as it will be about $5.5 million.
If Davis does demonstrate that he is a good risk, the Redskins could work out a long-term deal with him sometime prior to the start of training camp. Or, they could wait and work out a deal a year from now. Under the rules, the Redskins could tag Davis again in 2013 but not after that.
Should the Redskins use the franchise tag on Davis, they could not use it on LaRon Landry. The safety, once considered one of the franchise cornerstones, will also be a free agent but his future is clouded by injury. He has decided to put off a decision to have surgery to repair an Achilles injury that has cost him 15 games over the past two seasons.