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Two troubling possibilities associated to the franchise tag

The NFL and it's players are disagreeing over practically everything these days and the latest such point of contention is the franchise tag so many teams use on their most valuable players to keep them locked to their rosters during free agency.

The NFL sent all 32 teams a letter recently informing them the franchise tag can be employed beginning Feb. 10. The NFL Players Association is countering with a letter to agents telling them the union would go to court to challenge any franchise tag being used prior to the signing of a new labor agreement -- an agreement that is not close to happening.

How does this affect the Dolphins?

Well, it seems unlikely the Dolphins would tag any of their pending veteran free agents. That's bad news for fans because it means Miami probably doesn't have a veteran player so valuable he would merit an enormous franchise tag type guaranteed salary by the  Dolphins in exchange to keep him.

It is likely, however, other teams would tag their quality players. And that is bad news for the Dolphins.

Remember I've been telling you for months the Dolphins would be very interested in New England Patriots Pro Bowl guard Logan Mankins if he hits free agency? Chances are good he would not hit free agency because the Patriots would likely use the franchise tag on him.

The same would happen with other quality players around the league. Come to think of it, even if the NFLPA goes to court and gets a favorable ruling and teams aren't allowed to use the tag now, eventually some form of the tag is expected to be part of the new collective bargaining agreement. So we have to cool our jets about  Mankins, folks, considering the Pats might still use that tag regardless of whether its on Feb. 10 or later.

On the other hand, I've got an unsettled feeling about the Jets.

There are reports the Raiders are going to use their franchise tag on Richard Seymour. That's because they cannot use it on outstanding and soon-to-be free agent cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. You remember Aomugha, right?

Last year there were rumors he might be traded to the, wait for it, New York Jets.

He wasn't. But now he's able to go to any team he wants and has a want for him.

The Jets initially are acting coy about the possibility. They have their own players to re-sign first. But guys, I think I've seen that team operate from afar in such a manner that they do the audacious things to try to get better -- at least they have the past three years.

Yes, Antonio Cromartie is one of those players the Jets would like to re-sign to continue competing for AFC titles. But if they can sign Asomugha and team him with Darrelle Revis instead, that would be an enormous upgrade. So that is a possibility that cannot be dismissed.

The Eagles, possibly the 49ers, and other teams might also be players for Asomugha. But he has already expressed an interest in playing alongside Revis. That is troubling to me.

Very troubling.

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