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Cross One Off The List, Bengals Tag Smith

With less than a week to go for teams to designate players with the francise or transition tag, the Cincinnato Bengals announced they will do just that with DE Justin Smith.

By placing the designation on Smith, who could have become an unrestriced free agent on March 2.  Now Smith will be guaranteed $8,644,000, the average salary of the top five defensive ends next season.

Smith Will Return To Cincy

One misconception about the franchise tag is the ability for Smith to receive offers from other teams.  He can still receive and offer, and the Bengals have the opportunity to match.  If the Bengals choose not to, they would receive the signing team's 1st Round pick in 2007 and 2008 as compensation.  Few, if any, players are worth TWO first round picks, which means a franchise tag locks the player to that team.

This is big deal to Broncos fans becuase the Broncos are likely to target the defensive end position during free agency and the upcoming NFL draft.  The deadline to place a tag on one of your players is February 22nd, and we'll be keeping a close eye on Dwight Freeney in Indianapolis and Patrick Kerney in Atlanta, though it is widely assumed the Falcons will leet Kerney go.