The NFL opened its two-week window for teams to apply the
franchise tag on an impending free agent on Monday, but according to Geoff
Mosher the Eagles will not use the device this year. Of the club’s seven free
agents, only Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie merits consideration, but sources tell
Mosher a guaranteed one-year deal at $10.7 million is too expensive.
The franchise tag is often used as a bridge to a long-term
extension, but in Rodgers-Cromartie’s case it probably behooves him to sign at
that price. $10.7 million represents the average salaries of the top-five
highest-paid cornerbacks in the league.
The Eagles may still attempt to re-sign DRC, who arrived in Philadelphia
as a key component of the trade that sent Kevin Kolb to Arizona. He’s had a
rocky two-year tenure however. The former first-round pick spent most of 2011
as the nickel corner, a position he was ill-suited for. Back on the outside
last season, he flashed Pro Bowl potential, but it appeared at times that he
Rodgers-Cromartie had three interceptions and started all 16
games in ’12. No question he has the skill set to be an elite cornerback in the
NFL. While he avoids contact and has been accused of giving up on plays, few
players at that position possess his combination of size, speed, and instinct.
Another organization may be willing to pony up some serious
coin for that potential though if it were to hit the market. Meanwhile, cornerback is an area of serious concern
for the Birds. The other starter, Nnamdi Asomugha, is due $15 million this year,
but his play has been nowhere near commensurate of his salary and makes him a candidate for release. Brandon Boykin,
Brandon Hughes, and Curtis Marsh were the other CBs on the roster last season.
The Eagles previously used the franchise tag on DeSean
Jackson (’12) and Mike Vick (’11), both of whom obviously signed long-term
Overall, you can’t really blame the front office for their
trepidation over handing DRC that kind of money. Then again, you hate to see
them risk letting a player with his potential walk away for nothing. Who knows
whether anybody can get him to play at a high level all of the time, but it seems a waste to take the tag option off the table.
last year’s free-agent market though, somebody might be willing to make an
offer to Rodgers-Cromartie in the $10 million-per-year range. You could make the case that for one more season at least, it should be the Eagles.
Jon Dorenbos, King Dunlap, Akeem Jordan, Derek Landri, Jake
Scott, and Darryl Tapp make up the rest of the Eagles’ free-agent class.
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