Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
The Raiders opted not to use their franchise tag this year.
The Franchise Tag deadline of 1pm Pacific Standard Time has passed and the Raiders did not use their Franchise Tag designation.
There are several starters set to become free agents if the Raiders don't work out a long term deal. Of those starters, only a few were worthy of the franchise tag.
Shane Lechler was most deserving, however with new CBA rules, a franchise tag would mean a 120% increase on his 2012 salary which would set his tag number at $5.88 million - way too expensive for a punter.
The next in line were linebacker Philip Wheeler and Desmond Bryant. Both are considered to be pretty hot commodities should they be allowed to test the market. However, with tag numbers at over $9 million for Wheeler and over $8 million for Bryant, the Raiders passed on tagging either of them as well. Bryant's recent arrest and subsequent mugshot didn't help his case either.
Tight end Brandon Myers' name has come up with regard to the franchise tag but that was never a realistic possibility.
The Raiders weren't expected to use the franchise tag this year for those reasons. They are hoping to not only sign the likes of Bryant and Wheeler to lower yearly figures than the franchise tag amount but to a 2013 cap friendly deal as they are still trying to get out from beneath some big contracts from the previous regime.
The team will now have five days to sign these players before they are allowed to speak with other teams and eight days before Free Agency starts. With no franchise tag to buy time, the clock is now ticking to get a deal done or risk losing some of their best players.