Franchise tag period begins today

Fred Davis (Brian Blaco/The Associated Press)

Fred Davis (Brian Blaco/The Associated Press)

Starting today, the Redskins and their fellow teams have a two-week window during which they can use their franchise tag on a designated player.

A year ago, the Redskins used the tag to keep tight end Fred Davis from hitting the open market. As a result, Davis played on a one-year deal worth just less than $5.5 million.

Davis’s season was cut short by a ruptured left Achilles’ tendon, and is set to become a free agent once again. If the Redskins were to use the franchise tag on him a second consecutive year, his salary would increase to roughly $6.5 million.

The Redskins, who are salary-cap strapped, could be inclined to work out a deal to retain Davis without using the franchise tag. General Manager Bruce Allen indicated to reporters last week that a decision on Davis wouldn’t be made until the team can get a better feel for his recovery “until later in the spring.” The free agency signing period begins at 4 p.m., March 12, so Allen’s statement would suggest that Washington would pass on using the franchise tag on Davis. But the general manager didn’t rule it out, either.

Another 18 Redskins players will be free agents as well, but it wouldn’t seem that Washington would use the franchise tag on any of them.

The team is roughly $4 million over the salary cap because of the $18 million penalty it must absorb for a second consecutive offseason.

The Redskins are expected to restructure a number of players, and possibly cut others to create spending money so they can re-sign players and sign others. The deadline to do so is March 12.

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