Teams are free to use their franchise tag on players and will be able to do so until February 24th. As of now, the following players have received the tag: Peyton Manning (Colts), Michael Vick (Eagles), Vincent Jackson (Chargers), Haloti Ngata (Ravens), Logan Mankins (Patriots), David Harris (Jets).
If there is a lengthy lockout that prevents free agency over this offseason, then these tags are essentially useless. However, if a deal is finished in the next few weeks and free agency is reinstated they will be vital for teams to retain their top free agent without negotiating a long-term deal.
For the Jaguars, only one player is truly a candidate for the franchise tag.
The Jaguars are currently in negotiations for a long-term contract with Pro Bowl tight end Marcedes Lewis. In the event that a deal can not be finished prior to the franchise tag deadline, it is possible the Jaguars could place the tag on Lewis in an attempt to give themselves more time to negotiate. This is likely a last resort scenario for the Jaguars who would likely be much more comfortable locking up Lewis in teal for years to come.
As for how the tags placed on different players in the league affect the Jaguars, none does moreso than the Vincent Jackson tag. If a CBA is signed in time, Mike Sims-Walker could very possibly be one of the Jaguars that leaves via free agency in 2011. The Jaguars will surely take a look at how expensive it will be to retain MSW, but if the price is too high, it is very possible he could walk.
With Jackson off the market, Sims-Walker just became a little more valuable on the free agent market. With guys like Sidney Rice, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, Malcolm Floyd and Steve Smith (NYG) all set to hit the market, Sims-Walker isn’t going to be the top receiver free agent, but he will be among the upper echelon of starting-quality guys. The more these top players are removed from the free agent receiver crop, the more expensive it will become for the Jaguars to retain MSW.