CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 27: Matt Forte #22 of the Chicago Bears runs the ball against Tramon Williams #38 of the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field on September 27 2010 in Chicago Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
2012 NFL franchise tags - NFL Nation Blog - ESPN. Here's a complete list from ESPN, which I hope they keep updating throughout the day. Saints QB Drew Brees wasn't going anywhere one way or another, but if they could have signed him long-term, then they could have used the franchise tag on either Carl Nicks or Marques Colston. Both of those free agents should draw a lot of interest next week.
In the NFC North, only the Bears used the franchise tag over the weekend when they gave it to RB Matt Forte. This is no surprise, but why haven't given him a long-term contract already? The Bears apparently want to give him $13 million guaranteed, which is what players like Jamaal Charles and Frank Gore received in recent years. But the Panthers established a new level when they gave DeAngelo Williams $21 million guaranteed with an $8 million annual salary. Maybe the Bears can get the contract structured a little bit more favorably, but Williams's deal should be the basic framework. He shouldn't accept less, though Marshawn Lynch did just that ($18 million guaranteed, $8 million annual salary) over the weekend.
The Lions have all sorts of salary cap problems, but they really want to keep DE Cliff Avril. Talks have been ongoing and are expected to continue early on Monday. They'll have to make some other moves to use the franchise tag, but Lions GM Martin Mayhew said "the worst option is to play without Cliff." I expect they'll either sign him or use the franchise tag, and he won't be given a chance to explore the market.
Green Bay Packers news | Pete Dougherty analysis: GM Ted Thompson not likely to put franchise tag on QB Matt Flynn | Green Bay Press Gazette. The title is pretty self explanatory. Here's Friday's post on the subject, and the poll results agreed with Dougherty's assessment.
Vikings Won't Use Franchise Tag In 2012 - Hooks, Lines & Sinkers - SB Nation Minnesota. Move along, nothing to see.