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Brees Heads Record List of Franchise Players
Photo - QB Drew Brees - Saints
A record total of 21 NFL teams used their franchise tags before Monday's deadline. Here are the top free agents who received tags. A record 6 kickers received Franchise tags with 3 WR, 3 DB, 3 DE, 2 RB, 1 QB and no OL.
QB Drew Brees received the only Exclusive Franchise designation which means only the Saints can negotiate with him this offseason. All other franchise tagged players can speak with all clubs, though their current team will be compensated if they do not return to their present team.
Teams had until 4 p.m. ET on Monday to apply the franchise tag on a player and keep his rights for the 2012 season. Here's a team-by-team breakdown:
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Team / Franchise tag
Arizona Cardinals - DE Calais Campbell
Atlanta Falcons - CB Brent Grimes
Baltimore Ravens - RB Ray Rice
Chicago Bears - RB Matt Forte
Cincinnati Bengals - K Mike Nugent
Cleveland Browns - K Phil Dawson
Dallas Cowboys - LB Anthony Spencer
Denver Broncos - K Matt Prater
Detroit Lions - DE Cliff Avril
x - Indianapolis Colts - DE Robert Mathis
Jacksonville Jaguars - K Josh Scobee
Kansas City Chiefs - WR Dwayne Bowe
New England Patriots - WR Wes Welker
* New Orleans Saints - QB Drew Brees
New York Giants - P Steve Weatherford
Oakland Raiders - S Tyvon Branch
Philadelphia Eagles - WR DeSean Jackson
San Francisco 49ers - S Dashon Goldson
Tampa Bay Buccaneers - K Connor Barth
Tennessee Titans - S Michael Griffin
Washington - TE Fred Davis
x - resigned with current club
* The formula for the exclusive-rights tag is the same as it was in the old collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and its players, meaning Brees is scheduled to earn the average of the top five quarterback salaries in 2012. For that reason, Brees' exact salary won't be calculated until the free-agency period is over this summer.
The franchise figure for QBs in 2012 is between $16 million and $17 million, but that likely will be affected by what happens with any potential Peyton Manning deal.
The Saints' decision to use their tag on Brees adds another chapter to a difficult round of negotiations between the team and their leader. Brees broke Dan Marino's NFL single-season passing record this past season and led New Orleans to its only Super Bowl championship just two years ago.
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