Originally written on This Given Sunday  |  Last updated 2/21/13

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

NFL, NFLPA reduce Le'Veon Bell suspension

Tim Brown: Cardinals new coach Jen Welter is 'tough as nails'

NFL seeks federal court ruling to confirm Brady’s suspension

Royals reportedly acquire Ben Zobrist from Athletics

Dallas Cowboys officially release RB Ryan Williams

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Hulk Hogan reportedly used homophobic slurs, too

Pettine on Browns GM: We're singing from the same hymnal

Reports: Troy Tulowitzki had no idea he was being traded

Dolphins sign Josh Freeman just four days after cutting him

Teammate: Victor Cruz looks faster now than ever before

Donald Trump rips Boston mayor over failed Olympic bid

Ronda Rousey willing to fight Miesha Tate a third time

Mexico fires head coach for alleged airport brawl following Gold Cup win

Jameis Winston: Back at a good weight heading into camp

Shaq on Scottie Pippen beef: 'I don't let bums disrespect me'

Five NFL players who will take a step back in 2015

Jets won't hesitate to bench Geno Smith if he struggles

Jonathan Papelbon will be traded … somewhere

Six players poised for big year after season-ending injuries

‘Mystery pooper’ torments golf course by defecating in holes

Gyllenhaal’s parents made him turn down ‘Mighty Ducks’ role

Eli, Romo channel Rob Lowe in new DirecTV commercials

Troy Tulowitzki, the Blue Jays, and upgrading strengths

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

NFL upholds Tom Brady's suspension, legal battle likely

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Kobe to see time at power forward next year

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel

Galette appears to unload on Payton

Dez Bryant in 'financial distress' before signing new deal

Top 10 CFB coaches on the hot seat

Was Popovich close to retiring last year?

Kyle Busch continues historic run with Brickyard win

WATCH: Mike Trout HR lands in 'Trout Net'

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker