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Patriots might be ready to use franchise tag on Hightower or Bennett

Patriots might be ready to use franchise tag on Hightower or Bennett
Published On: Wed, Feb 15
Feb 1, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Seattle Seahawks defensive tackle Tony McDaniel (99) reacts after a play aNew England Patriots during the third quarter in Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

The franchise tag window opens today, and with it comes a whole host of possibilities for the Patriots.

In the next two weeks, the Pats will choose whether to place a franchise tag on anyone. The last time they did it was in 2015, tagging kicker Stephen Gostkowski.

As it stands now, the two candidates theyd likely consider using it on are linebacker Donta Hightower and tight end Martellus Bennett. Both are set to hit free agency after serving important roles on the Pats Super Bowl LI championship team.

Teams can use several options for the tag. They can apply an exclusive rights tag, meaning the player must be offered a one-year deal at no less than the average of the top five salaries of his position in the current year or 120 percent of the his previous salary, whichever is greater. The other type is a transition tag, meaning the player can negotiate with other teams, but his original team owns the right to match any offer.

The salaries used in these one-year deals are guaranteed.

It would be hard to find a more difficult player on the defense to replace than Hightower, who not only serves as one of the teams most indispensable players but is a captain and one of the core leaders in the locker room.

However, the tag for Hightower will not come cheap. The current projected number for a linebacker is about $15 million. Last week, NFL.com reported that Hightower had turned down a contract offer from the Pats before the season worth $10million per year.

Read the complete news article here...


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