The 2013 NFL Franchise Tag deadline has passed and teams and far fewer teams used the designation this year, as opposed to last year.
It's now after 4PM EST on March 4th, thus the NFL's 2013 Franchise Tag deadline has elapsed. In the 2012 offseason, 21 teams used the franchise tag, which included the Bengals using theirs on a kicker (Mike Nugent) for the second time in four years. This year, only eight teams decided to use the tag, undoubtedly a symbol for the cap situation around the league.
Here are the players that were tagged:
Cincinnati Bengals: Michael Johnson, Defensive End
Kansas City Chiefs: Brandon Albert, Offensive Tackle
The last-minute move to tag Albert by the Chiefs was part of a huge day for the team, where they retained three of their key guys. Teams also had the ability to use the Transition Tag if they wanted to, but that has become a somewhat archaic practice and is rarely used anymore. No quarterbacks were tagged, though until last Friday, it looked as if Joe Flacco was set to receive it for the Ravens. He has since signed a contract to make him the richest player in NFL history.
With only eight players receiving the tag, the free agent market is deep--particularly at offensive line and wide receiver. It will be interesting to see how the Bengals decide to use their huge amount of cap space from here out.
(Editor's Note: Lucas Greta and Josh Stankovich contributed to this article)