Hampton & Reed: To Tag Or Not To Tag, That Is The Question
The Steelers will have two franchise tags (teams will have use of one franchise tag and one franchise transition tags) to use should the 2010 season be an uncapped year. Right now the Steelers have 11 unrestricted free agents listed below. Their are really only 2 players that realistically could be considered for the franchise tag, those being Casey Hampton and Jeff Reed. By placing the franchise tag on a player, the Steelers must offer a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player's position as of a date in April of the current year in which the tag will apply, or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, whichever is greater. While those amounts are not known yet, the cost for a defensive tackle in 2009 with a tag was just over 6 million, while the cost for placing the tag on a kicker was almost 2.5 million.
Another concern is the players attitude. I think Jeff Reed would be fine with being franchised. He could likely get a little longer contract for close to the same type money, but he knows Heinz Field and would likely be fine earning nearly 3 million dollars. Casey Hampton could be a problem though. He has publicly stated he does not want to be franchised, but is open to staying in Pittsburgh. Should he be franchised, his attitude and preparations could be affected. In a season without a salary cap, Hampton stands to profit pretty good with a final and lucrative contract. Considering his age, I do not think the Steelers will want to sign Hampton to a multi-year deal that could hurt future seasons should a cap be put back in place.
In closing, I see Reed being the only unrestricted free agent player being given an exclusive franchise tag.
Steelers Unrestricted Free Agents
QB Charlie Batch
LB Rocky Boiman
S Tyrone Carter
FS Ryan Clark
DE Nick Eason
WR Joey Galloway
NT Casey Hampton
DE Travis Kirschke
RB Willie Parker
K Jeff Reed
CB Deshea Townsend
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