How Today’s Tags Affect the Eagles

Photo Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Photo Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The franchise tag deadline came and went today at 4 p.m. Below is a look at what the various moves (and non-moves) might mean for the Eagles.

* The Birds opted not to use the tag on wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. They now have until 4 p.m. on March 10 to strike a deal with the veteran wide receiver, or Maclin will hit the open market as a free agent.

And there most certainly will be suitors.

Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas both got tagged by the Cowboys and Broncos, respectively. That puts Maclin near the top of the list of WR free agents, along with guys like Green Bay’s Randall Cobb and Baltimore’s Torrey Smith.

Last offseason, Maclin agreed to stay on a one-year deal rather than test the market. At 26 years old, coming off a career year (85 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 TDs), he’s in excellent position to cash in.

Maclin has maintained all along that he wants to stay, and the Eagles obviously want to keep him at the right price. But if nothing gets done before the start of free agency on March 10, Maclin figures to have plenty of options to explore.

* Meanwhile, Brandon Graham is in slightly better shape now than he was 24 hours ago. That’s because a couple of top-end edge rushers – Justin Houston (Kansas City) and Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants) – got tagged.

In other words, teams looking for help at that spot now have two fewer options.

Tim reported earlier that the Eagles are still trying to keep Graham, who is seeking between $7M an $8M per season. There are some good pass-rushing options scheduled to be free agents, but Graham will have a market.

* One piece of news that came as a bit of a surprise was the Patriots choosing not to tag safety Devin McCourty. The 27 year old figures to be a hot commodity in free agency, with many teams around the league in need of safety help. Assuming he hits the market, McCourty will be the top player at his position.

According to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston, it’s unlikely that McCourty and the Patriots reach a long-term deal before the start of free agency. Reiss suggests that McCourty will be looking for between $8M and $10M per season.