The Broncos are likely to use the franchise tag on one of their top free agents, the Denver Post reported on Tuesday.
PK Matt Prater — who made 76 percent of his field goals last season, including making 8-of-9 in the fourth quarter or overtime — is expected to be given the franchise tag. The projected 2012 salary for a kicker on the tag is $2.6 million, a decrease of 19 percent from the 2011 tag of $3.176 million, according to the Post.
According to the newspaper, the team will wait until salary cap specialist Mike Sullivan starts his job with the franchise before officially deciding to use the franchise tag on Prater or not. The kicker is one of 17 unrestricted free agents on the team.
Prater would be the first Bronco since 2002 to receive the franchise tag, when PK Jason Elam, who was given a $1.24 million salary, received it, per the Post.
Way we see it
While using the franchise tag on a kicker sounds strange, in this case it makes sense. The Broncos will be re-signing Prater to a manageable price and still will have the flexibility to work out a long-term contract with him if they choose to do so. While there are some potential starters among the team's group of free agents, none deserve the average of the top five salaries at their position like Prater does.