Oakland Raiders Wise to Not Use the Franchise Tag This Year

D.J. O'ConnorSenior Analyst IIIMarch 2, 2013

OAKLAND, CA - DECEMBER 06:   Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos fakes a throw as  Desmond Bryant #90 of the Oakland Raiders goes up to block it at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on December 6, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The deadline to put the franchise tag on a pending free agent has come and gone in the NFL, and there were a few possibilities for the Oakland Raiders to slap the tag on.

The Raiders could have put the tag on Desmond Bryant, who is expected to start next year with Richard Seymour and possibly Tommy Kelly leaving town.  

Shane Lechler could have gotten the tag, considering he is tied with Sebastian Janikowski for being the longest-tenured player on the team, and the tag would have been cheap for a punter.

The Raiders could have tagged Brandon Myers, who was the lone bright spot last year on the offense in a breakout year as he set career highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns. Myers even tied the great Tim Brown for most catches in a single game in Raider history.

Philip Wheeler was a possibility as well, as he was the leading tackler on the defense. He played so well that he took over the responsibility of the green-dot helmet to communicate with the sideline during the game.

Depending on whom you ask, there was someone on the Raiders who should have been tagged to secure their future in Oakland, but the Raiders made a smart move by not utilizing the tag this year.

The Raiders are still $800,000 over the salary cap, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN.  

The tag would have given any player a significant pay raise that the Raiders could not afford. Although the tag also buys time to negotiate on a long-term deal, there is no guarantee of getting a new deal done to reduce the financial hit.

Even if the cap wasn't such an issue for Oakland, the Raiders still don't have anyone that they absolutely need back for the price of the tag.

Lechler is 36, and the team has the young Marquette King waiting in the wings to take the job.  

Myers' success can be credited to the emphasis that the Greg Knapp offense puts on tight ends. Wheeler was good, but not quite good enough to get the $10 million or so tag price for an outside linebacker. The same can be said for Bryant at defensive tackle.

Reggie McKenzie knows how close or far he is from agreeing with the players he wants to bring back with long-term contracts, and he must have felt good enough to not bother with the tag to at least buy time to negotiate deeper into the offseason.

Look for some of the aforementioned players to be re-signed in the next couple of weeks, as we get closer and closer to the start of the new league year on March 12.