The NFL franchise tag deadline has passed. Some 21 NFL teams slapped the franchise tag on one of their players, including the Raiders who tagged safety Tyvon Branch. Clearly the tagging of Branch affects the Raiders free agent situation but several tags on other NFL teams could also affect the Raiders.
As for how putting the tag on Branch affects the Raiders, it means that Michael Bush will very likely become a free agent and will probably not be back with the team. Other notable Raider free agents include C Samson Satele, WR Chaz Schilens, DE Trevor Scott, RB Rock Cartwright, OT Khalif Barnes, OL Stephon Heyer, and LB Darryl Blackstock.
With the news coming from each team of who they franchised, it has changed the landscape of the free agent market. The Raiders would like to be a player in free agency as they attempt to re-build themselves in the image of Reggie McKenzie and Dennis Allen.
Here are a few of those franchise tags and how they could affect the Raiders plans in free agency:
The Saints couldn't reach a long term deal with QB Drew Brees which forced them to put the franchise tag on him. This means that WR Marques Colston is headed for free agency. The Raiders are deep at wide receiver but they don't have a dominant receiver like Colston.
The 49ers put the franchise tag on S Dashon Goldson. This means that cornerback Carlos Rogers is headed for free agency. With the cutting of Stanford Routt, the Raiders immediately had a need at corner. Rogers would be the ideal fit.
The Titans were in the same situation as the 49ers and they remedied it the same way. They placed the franchise tag on their safety, Michael Griffin, and it means that CB Cortland Finnegan will hit the market. The Raiders would very much like to have a corner with Finnegan's skill set. Although, his price tag is expected to be a bit too high.
The Colts placed the franchise tag on DE Robert Mathis which means their top wide receivers Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon will both hit the market. There are those that say Wayne will follow Peyton Manning to wherever he signs but if the Raiders want him, I don't think he would turn his nose up at the idea of catching passes from Carson Palmer.
Equally important may be those teams who didn't use a franchise tag at all. Among them are the Chargers, Seahawks, Jets, Vikings, Rams, and Texans. The interesting players from those teams who will likely hit the free agent market are WR Vincent Jackson, TE Jon Carlson, WR Plaxico Burress, NT Sione Pouha, TE Visanthe Shiancoe, WR Brandon Lloyd, and DE Mario Williams.
Other teams who didn't use a tag are the Bills, Steelers, Panthers, Dolphins, Packers. Although the Bills signed WR Stevie Johnson long term and the Steelers put first round tender on restricted free agent WR Mike Wallace. The fact that those two receivers along with Dwayne Bowe and DeSean Jackson raises the price tag of the other receivers which could make it more difficult for the Raiders if they attempt to sign one.