With a 4 p.m. EST deadline approaching for NFL teams to place the franchise tag on players they want to keep, it's quite apparent that clubs are much more willing to use the tactic than in the recent past. So far, 11 players have been tagged with a few hours to go. The bottom line is that there will be fewer impact-type free agents available at the end of this month. Of course, the Ravens tagged linebacker Terrell Suggs.
My personal favorite for the Ravens to acquire -- Seattle cornerback Marcus Trufant -- was tagged by the Seahawks. The Patriots' Asante Samuel remains the highest-rated free agent among CBs and the tagging of Trufant and the Raiders' Nnamdi Asomugha widens the drop-off between Samuel and the rest of the field. Other big defensive names off the free agent block because of franchise tags are Kansas City defensive end Jared Allen and Tennessee defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.
It remains to be seen how the Patriots handle wide receiver Randy Moss. He is eligible to be a free agent, but no one expects the Pats to let him get away. Some other familiar names who could wind up in the free agent pool are two players from the Bears' Super Bowl runner-up squad, linebacker Lance Briggs and wide receiver Bernard Berrian. Two players from Dallas could also become free agents -- safety Ken Hamlin and offensive lineman Flozell Adams.