Now that we're one day beyond the deadline for teams to franchise players that were bound for free agency, there's a recollection of sorts, readjusting how free agency is going to be affected now that most teams are holding onto their best players. River McCown with Football Outsiders examines the best uses of the Franchise Tag, ripping the Bengals for tagging place kicker Mike Nugent.
McCown writes (In$ider):
Again, the reasoning behind this tags is sound: Nugent had a nice season for Cincinnati and the Bengals, who according to our projections look to have around $60 million in cap space, aren't likely to be squeezed by the projected $2.6 million franchise tag. However, this tag helps continue Nugent's history as the poster child for the overvaluation of kickers. Nugent was drafted as a second-round pick by the Jets in 2005, then endeared himself so much in New York that the team sent him packing four years later for his inconsistency. He washed out of Tampa and Arizona, won a camp battle to become the Bengals kicker in 2010, then seriously injured his knee in November of that year to end his season. The fact that the Bengals consider him worthy of a franchise tag while they let Johnathan Joseph walk last year without one is a terrific example of the kind of silliness that has kept them from fielding a consistent winner.
We can't argue against that, despite the fact McCown made no reference to Reggie Nelson who many have argued was the most deserved. At the same time between franchising Nugent and franchising no one, it's a strong argument behind the points he uses.
At the same time, big deal. It's $2.6 million for a place kicker who set the franchise records with 33 field goals made in a single-season, averaging a team-best 2.1 field goals made/game. It's another area that the team doesn't need to address later and if they felt that Reggie Nelson wasn't worth a franchise tag, then why not the team's kicker whose franchise tag has a limited impact against the team's overall salary cap.