Franchise players: Atogwe, Hill, Scaife & Starks

A final-day flurry resulted in a total of 14 franchise players in the NFL this offseason. That’s a record, topping the 11 tagged players last year and in 2005.

In this post we’ll cover four remaining franchise players who we haven’t yet covered on the blog. You can see how they compare relative to the full class of 14 in the finally finalized franchise player post.

S Oshiomogho Atogwe, Rams – Atogwe isn’t a big name, but he’s built a nice reputation in league circles. In fact, he probably would have been the top safety on the open market had he not been tagged. Atogwe, who has 13 interceptions over the last 2 seasons, is one of the few defensive building blocks the Rams have, so it was smart of them to make sure and keep him despite the $6.3 million investment.

LB Leroy Hill, Seattle – I first watched Hill when he was a redshift freshman at Clemson making more plays than a backup usually does. He continued exceeding expectations and became an immediate starter in Seattle despite being only a third-round pick. Hill hasn’t gotten the pub of fellow ‘backer Lofa Tatupu, but he has been a defensive stalwart nonetheless. But the $8.3 million guarantee the Seahawks are making to keep Hill is quite steep for a player who is only solid and not spectacular. This tag will only make sense for Seattle if they can reach a long-term deal with Hill.

TE Bo Scaife, Titans – Tennessee might have tagged PK Rob Bironas for the second straight year, but the Titans got a contract done just under the wire. So instead, they tagged Sciafe, who was their leading receiver last year with 58 catches. The cost isn’t severe – $4.46 million – so it’s a good move. Sciafe isn’t a game-changer, but he’s dependable. And because he’s depended on, he’s worth a tag.

OT Max Starks, Pittsburgh – Starks was a backup entering last offseason, but the Steelers gave him a tag worth almost $7 million. He ended up starting 11 games at left tackle when Marvel Smith got hurt. This year’s tag guarantees Starks $8.45 million. But here’s the thing – Starks isn’t starter quality. As a stopgap, he’s at least above putrid, but not much more than that. The Steelers have a ton of free agents on their line this offseason, so it makes sense to keep someone. But I get the feeling that Starks isn’t a solution now, nor will he ever be. He’s simply not worth the cost.

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Filed under Football Relativity, NFL Free Agency

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