Gregg Rosenthal of NFL.com compiled a list of players who could possibly be franchise-tagged, including three he labeled as “no-brainers” in Saints tight end Jimmy Graham, Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy, and Dolphins cornerback Brent Grimes. The most intriguing note, however, is that the Browns might not franchise safety T.J. Ward because head coach Mike Pettine, formerly the defensive coordinator in Buffalo, may want Bills safety Jairus Byrd in Cleveland quarterbacking his defense. Ian Rapoport of NFL.com chimed in on Twitter with the same idea.
Other news from around the NFL:
- The Ravens face a Jimmy Graham-like dilemma with pass-catcher Dennis Pitta (whom Rosenthal thinks will get the tag), as far as whether he will receive the receiver or the tight end designation, writes Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun. Cap expert Joel Corry noted within the article that a potential grievance would be messy, and that a long-term deal is the best option for all parties.
- Jimmy Kempski of Philly.com lists several free agents for the Eagles to consider, and among them is veteran linebacker Marcus Benard, who graded positively as a pass rusher, but came in just below average against the run, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required).
- The Steelers need to draft a tall wide receiver to play opposite Antonio Brown, argues Scott Brown of ESPN.com.
- Chargers GM Tom Telesco is looking for defensive players with the attitude and style of the Seahawks, or what he deems a “run-and-hit mentality,” according to Derek Togerson of NBC San Diego. The Chargers defense improved down the stretch, but the team will need to look to the draft and/or free agency to strengthen the unit even further.