Free agency just lost a little bit of its luster.
Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome let it be known Tuesday that the Ravens will place the franchise tag on pass rusher Terrell Suggs if they cannot work out a contract extension with him before Thursday's deadline to tag players.
Cross Suggs off your shopping list.
That's OK, you say. Julius Peppers will be available.
The Carolina Panthers can still lock up the defensive end with the use of the franchise tag and chances will increase that Peppers will be tagged if the club can work out a contract for left tackle Jordan Gross to prevent him from reaching the free market. Peppers has said if he's tagged he will immediately asked to be traded and that's probably the way it would go any way because the franchise tag number for him will be a whopping $16.7 million. The Panthers just don't want to let him walk away in free agency and get nothing in return but a compensatory draft pick. So then you're talking about having to fork over draft pick(s) to the Panthers for Peppers as well as a huge contract. Peppers would like the $30 million guaranteed Dwight Freeney picked up from Indianapolis.
So before free agency opens Feb. 27 some of the biggest names could be taken out of play. Keep a close eye on Thursday's deadline for the franchise tag.
*** Vinnie Iyer, one of the fine folks over at the Sporting News, has an interesting story today where he analyzes potential landing spots for Anquan Boldin, the disgruntled Arizona wide receiver. Boldin has two years remaining on his contract but wants out. The gap between the pay he's receiving and the $40 million, four-year extension teammate Larry Fitzgerald received last offseason (OK, it's more like a canyon separating the two contracts) makes it unlikely the Cardinals will pay to keep Boldin happy.
While that doesn't mean the Cardinals are going to make Boldin happy and start shopping him, Iyer examines likely destinations for Boldin and ranks the top eight. Where do the Bears come in? Try No. 8.
"8. Chicago Bears. Brian Urlacher for Boldin? That's just one of many wacky thoughts out there. The Bears wouldn't be an attractive destination for Boldin, considering their uncertainty at quarterback and their lack of receiving threats who can take pressure off him. Although his physical style would be popular in Chicago, he likely would become frustrated by defenses game-planning to make him a non-factor."
Iyer speculates that NFC East rivals New York and Philadelphia would be the most likely places for Boldin to call home in 2009.
*** Lovie Smith has company. Dallas owner Jerry Jones made it official today. Cowboys coach Wade Phillips will serve as his own defensive coordinator.
*** There's no telling whether or not Jacksonville's Gerald Sensabaugh was on the Bears' radar in free agency as a safety. If he was, he isn't now.
Sensabaugh was arrested in Kingsport, Tenn., last Friday for driving on a suspended license and the goods got buried a little in this story.
"Guns were found in Sensabaugh's possession during Friday's arrest as well. According to police, he had a Bersa 380, an International Arms AK-47 and a Glock 22 in the car. But jail officials say this time Sensabaugh was not charged for having guns in his car."
According to officials, Sensabaugh had a permit for his Tank Johnson Starter Kit. That's an improvement. He was busted in 2007 in Kingsport for speeding and police found a loaded 9mm and Sensabaugh had failed to obtain a permit for the weapon.