Franchise tag unlikely to be used by Lions this year

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Don't expect the Detroit Lions to use the franchise tag this offseason.

On Monday, the two-week window opened for NFL teams to designate their franchise or transition tag players. Chances are the teams planning to use the franchise tag will wait until the latter stages of the two-week window to make their designations official, and chances are no teams will use the transition tag (it hasn't been utilized in years).

For the second year in a row, it doesn't appear that the Detroit Lions will make use of the franchise tag. They tagged defensive end Cliff Avril in 2012, but they opted to not use the franchise tag in 2013. This year, a repeat of 2013 is expected.

Quite simply, none of the Lions' 14 unrestricted free agents for 2014 are worth the franchise tag and the guaranteed salary that would come along with it. It would cost $6.7 million to tag tight end Brandon Pettigrew, for example, and he's not worth anywhere near that much. Plus, it's not like losing him in free agency would be the end of the world or anything.

Aside from the fact that none of their free agents are worth the franchise tag, the Lions simply don't have the cap room to utilize it anyway. Freeing up $11.5 million in cap space last week by releasing Nate Burleson and Louis Delmas improved the Lions' cap situation a great deal, but they are still working with a rather limited amount of space. Wasting all of it on the franchise tag in any year would not be very smart, but that's especially true for this year's group of free agents.

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