CINCINNATI - DECEMBER 26: Cedric Benson #32 of the Cincinnati Bengals runs with the ball during the NFL game against the San Diego Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium on December 26 2010 in Cincinnati Ohio. The Bengals 34-20. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
With expiring contracts on the horizon, the Cincinnati Bengals have decisions to make. Will they sign Johnathan Joseph to a deal that could be the most expensive contract for a defensive player in franchise history? Or will they sign a running back that, arguably, could begin showing diminishing returns. Then there's backups, lower-profile starters and that doesn't even cover the restricted free agents that started for the team in 2010.
But at least they have one out. They could use the franchise tag on one player and be done with worrying about that player. But if there's no CBA, then the tag doesn't matter. Not really. The tag still assures that the team has that player for another year, allowing them to continue negotiating.
Either way, it might not matter.
According to Geoff Hobson, don't expect the team to use the franchise tag on either Joseph or Cedric Benson because the team wants to see what happens with the Collective Bargaining Agreement.
But no matter what happens, don’t look for the Bengals to use the franchise tag on either of their two key free agents, cornerback Johnathan Joseph or running back Cedric Benson. They want to sign both to long-term deals with sane salary cap hits. But not before the CBA is done because they want to make sure the deals fit whatever system they get.
Eagles quarterback Michael Vick and Patriots guard Logan Mankins have already been tagged by their respective teams. The Eagles also placed the transition tag on place kicker David Akers. The Oakland Raiders are reportedly going to tag defensive end Richard Seymour, while the Indianapolis Colts could tag Peyton Manning if a long-term deal isn't completed soon. Other players expected to have the franchise tag placed on them includes (but not limited to): Pittsburgh's LaMarr Woodley, San Diego's Vincent Jackson and Baltimore's Haloti Ngata.