In a dazzling display of what the franchise tag was designed to do best, the Denver Broncos will reportedly franchise their kicker -- yes, their kicker -- Matt Prater, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. While Prater is definitely a talented kicker who had a fine year for the Broncos last season, including a 59-yarder against the Chicago Bears and the NFL's best kickoff touchback rate, it's still a kicker.
The Broncos have done this before, ten years ago with Jason Elam. The decision will cost the Broncos around $2.6 million for the signing, but Prater said he's hoping to avoid the one-year deals and strike a long-term agreement.
Mike Klis of the Denver Post writes, "Prater said near season's end that after five seasons of kicking on year-to-year deals, he was hoping free agency would bring him the security of a long-term contract. And just because a player is franchised doesn't mean it can't be used as leverage to eventually negotiate a long-term deal."
The Broncos other franchise possibilities, according to Klis, include "defensive tackles Brodrick Bunkley and Marcus Thomas; defensive ends Jason Hunter and Derrick Harvey; linebackers Joe Mays, Mario Haggan and Wesley Woodyard; receiver Eddie Royal; safety Brian Dawkins; fullback Spencer Larsen; quarterback Brady Quinn; tight ends Daniel Fells and Dante Rosario; offensive linemen Russ Hochstein and Manny Ramirez; and cornerback Jonathan Wilhite."