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Franchise tag status

We're not expecting the Buffalo Bills to place a franchise tag on any player today - not that it matters. Today is the first day in which NFL teams can put a franchise tag on a player set to become a free agent. But with the bargaining agreement between the league and the players union set to expire on March 4, all player negotiations will be put on hold pending a new deal. 

Teams are expected to still use the tag over the next two weeks, likely just as a way of covering themselves for whenever a new agreement is reached. Whenever a deal is reached, teams might be given another window in which to place a tag. Or not. The Patriots are likely to place a tag on Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins. 

NFL Players Association Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said last week it's all a moot point without a new deal.

"Our position is that you can franchise anyone you want, by whatever date you want, but if there is no CBA, the franchise tags will be meaningless," Smith said. "The NFL has no valid basis for claiming the right to franchise players in 2011."

---Mark Gaughan

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