Tag time begins today

The longest offseason in major professional sports has begun. With the confetti from the parade in New Orleans now cleaned up, and the Saints and Colts joining their 30 colleagues in offseason planning, the business of the NFL takes center stage over the games of the NFL. It’s seven long months until the next meaningful snap is taken, and the offseason already feels longer only three days into it (when did the East Coast become Alaska?).

The first marker on the offseason calendar starts today with the beginning of the two-week period for teams to designate franchise and transition players. As one of the new rules for the uncapped year, today is also the beginning of a four-day period for teams to designate one additional player as a transition player. This is one of many new rules for the new world of NFL operations that we have in the final year of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), all of which I will deal with in next week’s Webinar.

With an already diluted pool of unrestricted free agents (UFAs) as a result of the requirement for free agency going from four to six years – eliminating 212 players from the UFA pool – the talent in the group can be made even more scarce by the placement of tags over the next two weeks.

Although it’s extremely unlikely Julius Peppers will receive a tag from the Panthers, there are other candidates who can be taken off the UFA market by their teams. Beefy defensive tackles Vince Wilfork of the Patriots, Casey Hampton of the Steelers and Aubrayo Franklin of the 49ers may fall into that category, as may previously tagged players such as Cardinals linebacker Karlos Dansby and cornerbacks O.J. Atogwe of the Cardinals and Dunta Robinson of the Texans.

The following are franchise and transition amounts for 2010:

The NFL offseason, which I always refer to as “me” time rather than “we” time as business takes over, is here.

Gentlemen, start you tagging.

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To find out how an uncapped year affects the Eagles' restricted free agents, check out this article from Bleacher Report.

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