Here is what you need to know on this Tuesday, March 5, seven days before the start of the new league year and free agency.
Didn’t use franchise tag
The deadline to franchise tag players came and went on Monday and, as was expected by just about everyone, the Redskins took no action.
The one candidate for the franchise designation was tight end Fred Davis. He was the team’s franchise player last year. It turned out to be a short season as he suffered a torn Achilles tendon in Week 7 and went on injured reserve the rest of the way.
The Redskins may have considered using the tag on him again but that would mean that Davis’ $6.5 million salary would immediately count against the 2013 salary cap and the team simply doesn’t have the cap room to be able to do that.
It appears that Davis will take advantage of his ability to shop his services for the first time in his five-year career. According to many on Twitter Davis told a Cleveland radio station that it would be “awesome” to play for his hometown Browns (I have not been able to locate a transcript or podcast to verify this). Davis is a native of Toledo.
And there certainly is nothing wrong with him saying that. When free agency starts a week from today, Davis likely will say that it would be awesome to play for any of the 32 NFL teams. Given the Redskins’ salary cap limitations it is unlikely that they will make him an offer that he can’t refuse without talking to other teams first. He could end up looking around and coming back to the Redskins with his best offer to see if they can match it or come close enough to persuade him that the familiar surroundings and the presence of a potential superstar quarterback in RG3 is worth a little less money.
That said, I wouldn’t look for Davis to give the Redskins a substantial hometown discount. This is likely to be the one big contract he will sign in his NFL career and he needs to maximize it. Where Davis could give the Redskins a break is in the structure of the deal. He could let the Redskins backload some of the money to make the 2013 cap hit of the deal more manageable for the team.
Use of tag down around NFL
The Redskins were not the only NFL team that used the franchise tag on a player last year but did not in 2013. After 21 players were tagged in 2012, only eight were this year.
With the Redskins’ cap situation, none of the players tagged were realistic free agent targets for the team. Bills’ safety Jairus Byrd, who will make $6.9 million as Buffalo’s franchise player, may have been a great fit in Washington. But their salary cap restrictions would have made it very difficult to sign him.
In case you missed it
Days until: Start of free agency 7; NFL Draft 51; NFL Kickoff Sunday 187
Tandler’s tweet of the day
Note: I actually got my 1930’s criminals mixed up. The “it’s where the money is” quote is from Willie Sutton, not John Dillinger. But the message remains the same no matter who first uttered the words.
Why might the #Redskins have to let go of some favorite vets? Like Dillinger said when asked why he robbed banks: "It's where the money is."— Rich Tandler (@Rich_TandlerCSN) March 4, 2013