Originally written on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 2/14/13

Starting on Monday, NFL teams will be able to start marking their territory on impending free agents by using the franchise tag to prevent a particular key player from becoming available on the open market when free agency arrives on March 12. Here's a look at 10 players who could be tagged. 1. Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco: This is an obvious one. And likely an inevitable one, because it doesn't appear as though a long-term deal is imminent and the Ravens can't and won't let their Super Bowl MVP quarterback walk. 2. Cincinnati Bengals OT Andre Smith: The former top-10 pick has finally come into his own as a dominant right tackle. The Bengals can't let him leave after all they've been through with him. 3. Denver Broncos OT Ryan Clady: It seems like they've been talking contract forever, but they may need extra time. Peyton Manning would lose it if they let his stud blind-side protector walk. 4. Buffalo Bills S Jairus Byrd: Byrd was one of the best safeties in the league this past season, especially in coverage. The Bills would be taking a major step backward if they were to let him get away. He'd also be cheaper to tag than guard Andy Levitre. 5. Chicago Bears DT Henry Melton: Melton's breakout year coincided with his contract year in Chicago, and now he'll be a hot commodity if he hits the open market.  6. St. Louis Rams WR Danny Amendola: This is a debatable one, but I don't think the Rams are willing to let Amendola walk after a breakout season.  7. Kansas City Chiefs OT Branden Albert: Kansas City is probably going to have to use the tag on either Albert or Dwayne Bowe, who was tagged last year. It's a new coaching staff this year, though, and I think they'll lean toward the player at the more important position (tackle). 8. Minnesota Vikings OT Phil Loadholt: I'm more sure about left tackles like Clady and Albert than I am about right tackles like Smith and Loadholt, because left tackles are more valuable but the tag price is the same. That said, Loadholt is too good of a run blocker for Minnesota to mess around. 9. San Francisco 49ers S Dashon Goldson: Goldson really doesn't want to get tagged again, but at least it'll mean a raise. I think that if the Niners were willing to tag him last year, they will again this year. 10. Indianapolis Colts P Pat McAfee: Good punters and kickers get tagged like crazy because of the low cost. If they can't get something ironed out between now and early March, there's no reason Indy won't tag its top-of-the-line punter. Other tag possibilities include Michael Bennett, Fred Davis, Martellus Bennett, Will Beatty, Louis Vasquez, Sebastian Vollmer, Wes Welker, Reggie Bush, Dwight Freeney, Dwayne Bowe, Andy Levitre, Gosder Cherilus, Anthony Spencer, Dwan Edwards, Brent Grimes, William Moore, Rob Bironas and Shane Lechler.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Cam Newton signs five-year, $130M extension with Panthers

Devils introduce new head coach John Hynes

Report: Heat could make a run at Kevin Durant

Goodell denies request to recuse himself from Brady appeal

Dan Marino: Brady one of best QBs ever despite Deflategate

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Sepp Blatter stepping down as FIFA president

Cameron Jordan, New Orleans Saints agree to five-year deal

Steve Williams: 'There's no chance' Tiger Woods did PEDs

Aaron Hernandez’s lawyers want jury probe in Lloyd case

Adrian Peterson ends holdout, returns to Vikings

Albert Pujols: Angels are not 'the Mike Trout show'

Pettine views latest Manziel incident as a ‘non-story’

Nationals need Taylor to produce in Werth’s absence

UAB football's return great, but bad publicity will last forever

What Adrian Peterson's return means for the Vikings

2015 Stanley Cup Final preview: Blackhawks vs. Lightning

Umenyiora, wife Leila Lopes respond to cheating allegations

Would Cavs winning title impact Love's impending free agency?

If you love speed, you'll love the 2015 Stanley Cup Final

The Chicago Bulls and the culture of fitting in

Biggest X-factors for Cavaliers and Warriors in NBA Finals

Shaq: I'd take Kobe over LeBron because of 'killer instinct'

NBA should have 'legacy contracts' for long-time players

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

What Peterson's return means

The Bulls and the culture of fitting in

X-factors for Cavs and Warriors

Pujols: Angels not 'Mike Trout show'

Adrian Peterson returns to Vikings

Chicago Bulls agree to deal with Fred Hoiberg

NBA should have 'legacy contracts' for long-time players

Atlanta Hawks unveil new logo

UAB fans celebrate football reinstatement

Sanchez backs off dismissal of Tebow

Gronk responds to critics of his antics

Bruce Jenner reveals new identity

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.