Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 3/4/12
We have now passed “Franchise Friday” and are just over a week away from the NFL’s free agency period.

With many big names that could hit the market, teams rushed to try and lock up their star players to long-term deals. There are very few to have done that so far, but there have been a number of teams use the franchise tag.

The franchise tag is something a team may apply to one of their players that is scheduled to become an un-restricted free agent. This is to limit player movement which is often to bigger markets.

The following players have already received the franchise tag:

New Orleans Saints -  QB Drew Brees
When the offseason began, it looked like Drew Brees re-signing with New Orleans was as close to a sure thing as it gets. Now, however, it has been reported that Brees and the Saints are $15 million apart in negotiations.

With the bounty scandal currently surrounding Gregg Williams and the New Orleans Saints organization, the team may be stripped of their franchise tag, allowing Brees to become a free agent.

Baltimore Ravens - RB Ray Rice
Ray Rice has established himself as one of the top running backs in the NFL over the past few years and wants to be paid like it.

The Ravens do not want to pay Rice for whatever reason and used the franchise tag on him, which will keep him a Raven for another year.

Baltimore would be foolish to let the 25-year-old go considering he is their whole offense.

Chicago Bears - RB Matt Forte
Matt Forte is a bit of a wildcard in Chicago as he has been very vocal about holding out if he does not get the contract that he thinks he deserves.

Hopefully in his time off, Forte realizes that he should not have a similar contract to that of Adrian Peterson and he accepts what he is worth... for now.

Philadelphia Eagles - WR DeSean Jackson
DeSean Jackson was one of the more controversial players this season when it came to his contract. The 25-year-old is a great deep threat and punt returner, but was a big part of the “Dream Team’s” lack of success.

If Jackson were to hit the market, many of us were unsure if teams would take a chance on him, but one likely would have and the Eagles were smart to give him another year while they negotiate a new deal. 

Washington Redskins - TE Fred Davis
Fred Davis was one of the few bright spots of a struggling Washington Redskins squad that finished the year with the sixth worst record in the league.

Davis came out of nowhere in 2011, catching 59 passes for almost 800 yards in just 12 games, and if the Redskins pick up a decent quarterback and another threat, then he could develop into one of the elite tight ends in the league.

Arizona Cardinals - DE Calais Campbell
No surprise here. Calais Campbell has stated that if both sides could not work out a long-term deal, then he would not mind being franchise tagged because he still wants to be a Cardinal.

Campbell was a stud for the Cardinals this past season, recording 70 tackles, eight sacks and three blocked field goals.  

Re-signing him long-term will be key if Arizona wants to continue having success on the defensive side of the ball.

Atlanta Falcons - CB Brent Grimes
It was a must for the Atlanta Falcons to keep Brent Grimes for at least 2012, as he is arguably their top defensive player.

Atlanta has tons of talent offensively, but need to continue to build their defense if they want to be a Super Bowl contender.

Oakland Raiders - SS Tyvon Branch
They recently released Stanford Routt and lost Nnamdi Asomugha last offseason to free agency so it was important for the Raiders to at least keep someone in their secondary.

Branch has had three consecutive seasons with at least 100 tackles for the Raiders and if he is signed long-term will become the leader of their defense.

San Francisco 49ers - FS Dashon Goldson
Dashon Goldson had a monster year for the 49ers with six interceptions in 14 games. It was contributions like this that gave San Francisco the No. 1 defense in the league.

The Niners also re-signed LB Ahmad Brooks, ensuring that their defense will be atop the league again next year.

Cincinnati Bengals - K Mike Nugent
One of two kickers to be given the franchise tag – Mike Nugent made 87 percent of his field goals for the Bengals in 2011.

Cleveland Browns - K Phil Dawson
The second kicker that the franchise tag has been used on – Phil Dawson has spent all of his 13 seasons in Cleveland and has hit at least 80 percent of his field goals in each of the last five seasons, including almost 90 percent in 2009.

That is all for now. I will be updating the franchise tags on this article as they happen. Anyone you think should or shouldn`t be tagged? Let me know in the comments box below.  

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