How many times have the Falcons used the franchise tag?

Credit: AJC

Falcons have decisions to make on more than two dozen players

Credit: AJC

Feb. 25 is the first day NFL teams can designate franchise or transition players.

The Atlanta Falcons have seldom used the franchise tag to retain players. The team has only used the tag — which allows the team negotiating rights to a potential unrestricted free agent — three times, all during Thomas Dimitroff's tenure as general manager.

The team first applied the franchise tag on punter Michael Koenen in 2009. Koenen was tagged at $2.4 million. He played two seasons in Atlanta before signing a long-term deal with Tampa Bay in 2011.

The team next used the franchise tag  on cornerback Brent Grimes in 2012 for $10.28 million after they failed to reach a long-term deal. Grimes missed the season after he tore his Achilles in the season’s first game. He signed a free-agent contract with Miami the following year.

Last season, defensive tackle Grady Jarrett was signed to a $15.2 million franchise tag — the average of the top five paid players at the position — after his rookie deal expired. The Falcons continued negotiations with Jarrett and reached a deal before the July signing deadline. Garrett's four-year deal is worth $68 million.

The Atlanta Falcons have decisions to make on more than two dozen unrestricted free agents this offseason.

The team has already opted to allow defensive end Vic Beasley to become a free agent. The team has to make personnel decisions on tight end Austin Hooper and linebacker De'Vondre Campbell before the new NFL business year begins March 18.