Today marks the start of a busy week for the Washington Redskins and other NFL teams. Starting today, teams can begin placing the franchise tag on an impending free agent of their own, and on Tuesday, Redskins officials head to Indianapolis, where the NFL Scouting Combine gets underway Wednesday evening.
Placing the franchise tag on one of those players would ensure that the Redskins lock them up for another year rather than having to work out a long-term deal, and it prevents other teams from being able to negotiate with those players.
Davis is coming off of a career year in which he recorded 59 catches for 796 yards and three touchdowns in 12 games. He was suspended for the final four games of the year for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. Landry had 48 tackles and 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble in eight games, and in 2010 ranked among the top safeties in the league, recording 85 tackles, a sack and interception before a strained left Achilles’ tendon forced him out of the final seven games of the season.
Davis seems more likely to receive the franchise tag despite his off-field issues. Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan has said that he has faith that the four-year veteran has learned his lesson and can remain a dynamic playmaker for Washington. He would receive a salary of $5.4 million as franchise player. The risk is that if Davis fails another drug test, he would be suspended for a year. That could cause some potential outside suitors to shy away from Davis on the open market, but it’s believed that the Redskins still would receive some competition in trying to sign him regardless. Davis will have to prove himself to the Redskins, and that’s why franchise-tagging him makes sense: they could avoid having to commit long-term money to him, and he would have a full year to show he can stay out of trouble.
The Redskins believe that Landry has the ability to be one of the most impactful defensive players in the league — if he’s healthy. But he hasn’t been at 100 percent since the 2010 season. Bone spurs in the area of his left heel repeatedly snagged his bad Achilles’ tendon when he ran this past season, and again forced him to miss the second half of the season. Landry in 2010 opted to receive platelet-rich plasma treatments to heal his Achilles’ tendon, and this offseason, rather than having surgery to shave off those bone spurs has continued with another round of alternative medicine treatments. He has yet to be cleared to resume running, but on Monday said he was encouraged by his progress and believes that he can return to full strength in 2012, but the Redskins would hesitate to sign him to a long-term deal until they were sure that was the case.
If the team placed the franchise tag on Landry, he would receive a salary of $6.2 million. But with significant questions about his health still looming, the Redskins might be able to sign the five-year veteran for a lesser deal without using the franchise tag.
Teams have until March 5 to use the franchise tag. Free agency begins March 13.
Wednesday begins the evaluation of the nation’s top prospects for April’s NFL draft. In addition to being measured, weighed, timed in running drills and evaluated in strength and jumping exercises, the players will go through interviews with teams.
Kickers, special teams players, offensive linemen and tight ends arrive to Indianapolis and begin the evaluation process Wednesday, with quarterbacks, receivers and receivers set to report Thursday, defensive linemen and linebackers showing up Friday, and defensive backs on Saturday.