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Activity Rising, Two More Receive Franchise Tag

Two more players set to hit Free Agency have been designated franchise players by there repective teams in the busiest roster day of the off-season to date.


Lance Briggs

First, the Bears designated Linebacker Lance Briggs as it's franchise player, giving the player a 1-year tender offer of over $7 million for 2007.  The Bears will coninue to try and get Briggs signed long term.

"Lance is one of the cornerstones of our defense," coach Lovie Smith said. "Everything we have asked him to do, he has done and he has developed each year. A lot of the success we've had [on defense] has been based on how Lance has played."

For his part, Briggs, a third round pick, was hping to test the market.  He is looking for Brian Urlacher-type money.  Last year Urlacher signed a nine year-$54 million dollar contract.

***Another possible target for the Broncos also was tagged with the Patriots giving Cornerback Asante Samuel a tender worth $7.79 million.  Samuel tied for the league lead in interceptions with Bronco Champ Bailey with 10 this past season and picked another pass during the AFC Championship loss to Indy.


Asante Samuel

"Asante Samuel is an outstanding player who has been a consistent contributor for us for several years," coach Bill Belichick said in a statement the team issued Friday night. "We hope Asante remains a Patriot for many seasons to come."

After losing core players the past couple of seasons the pressure was starting to mount on Belichick to start to keep key players.  The Patriots were well below the cap last season when they refused to give WR Deion Branch a new contract, and the ugly aftermath forced the Patriots to trade Branch to Seattle.

The move by the Pats leaves another intriguing option for the Broncos, however.  TE Daniel Graham is likely not to return.  It had been rumored that the Patriots would tag Graham, but obviously felt that keeping Samuel was more important.  Graham went to college at the University of Colorado.