The NFL confirmed to teams today that they can begin using their franchise and transition tags starting February 10. There had been some question about the use of the tags, but today's memo confirmed that the tags will be there to use.
Barring some kind court order by the Players Association, teams, including the Broncos, will be able to use their Franchise Tag to maintain control of a free agent-to-be, if there is free agency of course.
The biggest free agent name on the Broncos list is Champ Bailey. With a tag figure of around $14 million, should the Broncos consider placing the tag on Champ?
On one side, you have an aging defensive back that is still playing at a high level. Personally, I am not a big fan of the 'shut-down corner' idea. Great offenses will find a way to avoid great defensive backs. The good teams - like the Steelers for instance, have talent all over the field making it tough on opposing offenses.
Bottom line - if the Broncos are going to be able to take advantage of having a player like Champ Bailey on the field, they need the other 10 guys to be solid as well - otherwise it is a waist of time and money.
On the flip-side, the Broncos need to decide if they can afford NOT to make it look like they are doing everything they can to keep Champ - even if it isn't the best business decision. Of course, keeping the fans happy is usually a solid business decision so there in lies the problem.
The Broncos can still try to get Bailey signed to an extension, but with an uncertain labor situation, should they just bit the bullet and put the tag on Bailey? You tell me!