Dwayne Bowe has been franchised tagged by the Chiefs. Photo by Jeff Moffett/Icon SMI
The deadline for NFL franchise tags has passed and I will tell you who each AFC West team used it on. In addition to AFC West franchise tag information I will also cover some other news and notes from the division.
The Denver Broncos have used the franchise tag on kicker Matt Prater as expected. This means that Prater gets a one year offer of around $2.6 million which is cheaper than the going market for top kickers. A good kicker is very important to a John Fox team that wants to win with defense due to the low scoring games they are in. Matt Prater has made 91 of 116 field goal attempts in his NFL career with a long of 59.
The Oakland Raiders used their franchise tag on safety Tyvon Branch. Branch is a great defender against the run but is no ball hawk on pass plays. Still it makes sense to tag Branch and try to keep what is already a weakened secondary from getting worse. Branch has three interceptions, six sacks, three forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries and 254 tackles in his career.
The Kansas City Chiefs have used the franchise tag on Dwayne Bowe the talented wide receiver. The Chiefs used a non exclusive tag on Bowe which means he can still leave as a free agent in the unlikely event that a team is willing to give up two first round draft picks to sign him. Bowe has talent but has also had off the field concerns and a sometimes strained relationship with the Chiefs. Dwayne Bowe has 356 receptions for 4,927 yards and 36 touchdown catches in his five years in Kansas City. Using the tag on Bowe just made Brandon Carr harder to sign but the Chiefs have plenty of cap space left.
The San Diego Chargers decided not to use a franchise tag for 2012. There was some thought that Vincent Jackson would be tagged but that didn’t happen. Now Jackson may be leaving the team and a reunion with former Chargers offensive coach Chudzinski with the Panthers may make sense. However the Panthers don’t want to spend a lot of money in free agency so that may nix that idea.
In other Chargers news they have released defensive end Louis Castillo. The team is trying to save cap space and Castillo is often injured. This happens often when teams want to save money and it is possible Castillo will resign with the Chargers later for less money.