Originally posted 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.

This article first appeared on This Given Sunday and was syndicated with permission.

GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Pat Riley: LeBron James’ departure from Miami ‘was personal’

Marcus Smart fires back at Jimmy Butler over ‘not about that life’ talk

Tony Gonzalez: Tony Romo did not cost me CBS job

Martavis Bryant conditionally reinstated by the NFL

Dustin Pedroia: No rift in Red Sox clubhouse after Manny Machado incident

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

USGA tries to simplify rules by ending viewer call-ins, somehow makes it more complicated

NFL GM: Peterson could push Saints ‘into the playoffs and beyond’

Report: Derek Jeter/Jeb Bush-led group wins auction for Miami Marlins

Jets GM: ‘No problem’ avoiding domestic violence offenders in draft

Texans will have a draft pick announced from outer space

Kobe Bryant on if he misses basketball: ‘No, I don’t’

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

NFL Draft do-overs we'd most like to see

NFL Draft X-factor players you may have missed during their college careers

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

Box Score 4/25: 'So long, sleeves'

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

NBA Weekend Awards: Who takes home the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy?

Where it went wrong: Stanley Cup Playoffs Round 1 exits

20 of the best NFL Draft red carpet looks

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

How the Astros are following the Cubs' blueprint to the top

The 'QB or not QB? That is the question' quiz

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Paul Millsap needs a twin phone

Perfect matches: Handpicking players for certain teams in the 2017 NFL Draft

NFL Draft do-overs we'd most like to see

NFL Draft X-factor players you may have missed during their college careers

Everything you need for the 2017 NFL Draft

The 10 best sports docs available for streaming

Most inspirational sports movies, series and docs available for streaming

NBA Weekend Awards: Who takes home the Wilt Chamberlain Trophy?

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