Dec. 2, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Jets tight end Dustin Keller (81) celebrates on the field against the Arizona Cardinals during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
As we move towards the new league year, and the opening of the free agency period (March 12), we hit another important date in the schedule. Yesterday opened the period that teams can give the “Franchise” tag to players. Teams can use this to lock up a free agent player that they are having difficulty signing to a long term deal. It’s not required to be used, so the question is, will the Jets use the tag?
We know they can’t use it on Revis, and they can’t use it on Landry either, so here are some other players they can use it on:
SHONN GREENE: He is certainly eligible, and is coming off of his second straight thousand yard season. I don’t think any member of this fan base will be happy with that move, and he is not the prototype for a West Coast offense running back. Don’t see this happening.
NICK FOLK: This would be an interesting choice. The Jets wouldn’t be the first team to use the franchise tag on a kicker, and Nick has been clutch for the Jets. This has possibilities.
BRANDON MOORE: Brandon Moore would be intriguing. Even though he is in his 30s, he is still at the top of his game as an offensive guard in this league. But, paying over $9 million for an offensive guard is just not financially sound. If any lineman is going to be paid that much, they had better be blocking the QBs blind side. You could probably justify this move, but I wouldn’t see it due to the cost.
DUSTIN KELLER: Here is the debate that Jets fans have been having for months now, what to do about Dustin Keller. He was chosen by the Jets to be their version of Dallas Clark, but that hadn’t come to fruition yet. But, until 2012, his production got better by the season, and he is Mark Sanchez’s favorite target.
The argument that came to the forefront in 2012 was that Dustin Keller is “soft”. He injured his hamstring during the preseason and it negatively affected Keller for most of the season. People thought that a player who was more of a “gamer” would have been available more often.
Keller was looking for a long term contract before the season began, but that was not to be. He has said he would prefer not to receive the tag, but it’s the team’s choice. Projecting the tag at $5.5-$6 million would put him just around the middle of the market, a shade behind the elite players. He could choose to hold out if he is tagged, but he doesn’t want to sign. It’s a tricky one, the situation with Keller, and they have to decide if they want to continue a long term commitment with him.
This story will play out soon enough.