The Browns plan to place the franchise tag on LB D'Qwell Jackson, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Teams can begin franchising players on Feb. 20 and have until March 5 to assign that designation. The franchise salary for linebackers is estimated to be around $8.8 million.
Pectoral muscle injuries sidelined Jackson for all of 2010 and all but six games of 2009. He came back in a big way in 2011, starting all 16 games and recording 158 tackles, 3½ sacks, three passes defensed and one interception.
"We're looking for a long-term deal, and that's what both parties would like to accomplish before free agency starts on March 13,'' Jackson's agent, Brian Mackler, told the Plain Dealer.
The way we see it
Jackson ranks high on the Browns' priority list for free agency. He is versatile enough to play in the 3-4 or the 4-3. Though his durability is a concern, he was extremely productive last season.