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NFL’s first franchise tag of 2019 has been used and more will follow as deadline approaches

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NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Houston Texans Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

You may not have noticed, but it’s been a week since NFL teams were allowed to begin placing franchise tags on their own players. That’s because, as we know, deadlines spur action and we’re there’s still a week from that (March 5). That means we are on the hump.

Today, however, the 49ers broke the proverbial ice and slapped the franchise tag on...the kicker. They will ensure Robbie Gould will remain with the team for 2019.

Making the kicker your franchise player is probably the easiest of all, which is probably why Gould was the first. Special teamers have the lowest franchise tag number at $5.162 million. The next lowest number is tight end at more than twice that number ($10.93 million).

Several more top names will be removed from the impending free agent market over the next week. But before that happens, each side will likely feverishly attempt to avoid that outcome by working on long term contracts.

Among the names who are unlikely to see free agency are many who would be of great interest to the Raiders. Top pass rushers like Jadeveon Clowney, DeMarcus Lawrence, Dee Ford, and Frank Clark to name a few. Safety Landon Collins is another player the Raiders would love a crack at who probably won’t be available when all is said and done.

Keep an eye on the above names as well as the likes of Trey Flowers or CJ Mosley. Should they escape the tag to become free agents, hold onto your butts.