OLB Dwight Freeney
Dwight Freeney has been one of the best pass rushers in the league over the past decade or so, but, heading into his age 33 season in 2013, the Colts will be wary about committing too much to him long term. If he continues to produce in 2012, he would, under normal circumstances, be a natural candidate for the franchise tag, so he could get his money and the Colts won’t have to commit too much to him long term.
However, these are not normal circumstances, as, rather than the regular linebacker franchise tag value (8.8 million in 2012), Freeney would be guaranteed over 120% of his 2012 salary, which was 14.035 million. There’s very little chance they’d risk having to commit 16.842 million to him in 2013 at age 33, especially on a rebuilding team.
Likelihood: Very unlikely
P Pat McAfee
Punters and kickers are the most often franchised because the franchise tag values for them are very cheap and franchising them makes a lot more sense than giving them a long term deal. McAfee has a solid 44.5 yards per punt average in his career and, if he has another season like 2011 (46.6 yards per punt) in 2012, he’d become a natural candidate for the franchise tag.