With today’s franchise deadline now less than five hours away, let’s round up a few of the latest news items and rumors on the franchise tag from around the NFL….
- The 49ers won’t be designating safety Donte Whitner as their franchise player, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk (via Twitter).
- Raiders defensive end Lamarr Houston isn’t expected to receive the team’s franchise tag, a source tells Adam Caplan of ESPN.com (Twitter link).
- The Bills have yet to express anything to Jairus Byrd about the franchise tag, and it appears unlikely that the club will use it, tweets Jason La Canfora of CBSSports.com. Joe Buscaglia of WGR550 also hears that the Bills won’t franchise Byrd (Twitter link).
- The Packers don’t look likely to use the franchise tag on their own defensive back, says Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette (via Twitter). A source tells Dougherty that the team has yet to mention the possibility to Sam Shields or his agent.
- The Lions aren’t expected to use their franchise tag today, tweets Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew likely would have been the top candidate to be franchised.
- The Seahawks won’t use their franchise tag on defensive end Michael Bennett, reports Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. We also heard over the weekend that the team doesn’t intend to tag kicker Steven Hauschka, but Seattle is still trying to reach deals with both players, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Twitter).
- The Titans won’t use their franchise tag on anyone this offseason, tweets Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean. Cornerback Alterraun Verner appeared to be the most viable Tennessee candidate for the tag, but it appears the club will either reach a multiyear agreement with Verner or let him hit the open market.
- Paul Soliai‘s agent says the Dolphins have told his client he won’t be franchised, according to Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald (via Twitter). We heard last week that Miami was unlikely to re-sign Soliai, so the team may turn its attention to bringing back its other key free agent defensive lineman, Randy Starks.