In somewhat expected news, the New England Patriots have used their franchise tag on kicker Stephen Gostkowski. This means that, should Gostkowski accept, the All Pro kicker will be under contract for a salary cap hit of $4.59 million, the second highest ever for a kicker.
In 2014, Gostkowski was the best kicker in the league, earning a 2nd Team All Pro nod and at 31-years-old he still has plenty of gas in the tank. He has led the league in scoring in each of the past three seasons and he was the first kicker to prevent a team from returning a single kickoff in the Super Bowl.
As this cap hit is fairly high, look for New England try and restructure and extend Gostkowski with a medium-length deal to save room and lock in the kicker for the long term.
The fallout from this news is that All Pro free safety Devin McCourty was not franchise tagged. This means that unless New England and McCourty come to terms prior to the March 10th free agency period, the soon-to-be 28-year-old will be free to negotiate with competing franchises. I believe that he has a strong chance of remaining in New England.
Look for the Patriots to continue to find a long term agreement with both McCourty and cornerback Darrelle Revis.