|Forte's the fave to shake the franchise tag on Monday. (US Presswire)|
By the time the deadline came for NFL teams to apply the franchise tag to players this offseason, 21 of 32 teams used the opportunity. Back in June I took a look at how the tag had worked out for various players. Since then, three more players -- Drew Brees, Tyvon Branch and Matt Prater -- have inked new deals.
That leaves 12 players remaining to potentially get deals by 4 p.m. ET on Monday. My CBSSports.com colleague Jason La Canfora broke down what he's hearing from various sources last week, so let's factor all this information in and rank the players based on who's most likely to land a new deal and who's least likely to land a new deal.
We'll be updating this page throughout the day with any news of deals getting done (or not getting done), so bookmark it and keep coming back.
UPDATE (1:55 p.m. ET): The Jaguars and Josh Scobee agreed to a four-year contract, CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora reports.
UPDATE (12:47 p.m. ET): The Bears and Matt Forte agreed on a four-year deal CBSSports.com's Jason La Canfora confirms. CBSSports.com's Mike Freeman confirms the deal is worth approximately $8 million per year.
UPDATE (2:56 p.m. ET): The Lions and Cliff Avril have broken off talks on a new contract after the two sides were simply too far apart to make something work. So scratch him from a potential new deal.
12. Anthony Spencer, LB, Cowboys: This is basically a lock to not be a deal -- Spencer's agent said over the weekend that his client will head into 2012 under "his current contract." A new deal doesn't really make a ton of sense for either side anyway: the Cowboys don't want to invest a pile of cash into a guy with just 21.5 sacks in five years. And Spencer probably wants a shot at having a big season before cashing in on free agency. (Of course, he had that last year too, theoretically.) Dallas could also feel that a contract season will motivate him enough to improve the defense at a time when their window is apparently closing.
11. Dwayne Bowe, WR, Chiefs: There haven't been any talks about a new deal for Bowe -- La Canfora reported talks had gone "nowhere" last week -- and there's almost no chance he gets a new deal Monday. I still think Bowe, who hasn't signed his tag, is a sleeper for a holdout. He obviously can't convince KC to give him a new deal after Monday, but he can make a point about his feelings toward the tag by signing it at the last possible moment and giving Chiefs fans nightmares about Jonathan Baldwin and Steve Breaston being Matt Cassel's top targets.
10. Fred Davis, TE, Redskins: All along it's been highly unlikely that Davis would get a new deal. After all, he's one failed drug test away from a year-long suspension. But I still think the Skins should make a last-minute offer with a team-friendly deal, which they could. Just don't bank on Davis accepting. If he breaks out this year, he stands to make a lot more coin as a result.
8. Phil Dawson, K, Browns: Dawson's been down this road before -- it's his second time being franchised. If the Browns give a 37-year-old kicker a long-term deal, the NFL should suspend football activities in Cleveland permanently.
7. Brent Grimes, CB, Falcons: There's been virtually no chatter about a new deal for Grimes -- he looked like a potential holdout until the Falcons traded for Asante Samuel. When that happened, Grimes got into sign his tender remarkably fast! The Falcons aren't exactly flush with cash right now (NFL.com reports they've got less than $3 million in cap space remaining) and may prefer to see how 2012 plays out before investing in Grimes long term. As for Grimes, he's a former undrafted rookie who's about to get $10 million for one season. He can't be too unhappy, and if he plays well, he could parlay it into a big deal.
6. Wes Welker, WR, Patriots: I really thought something might get done between Welker and the Pats by the deadline, but hearing that talks are "non-existent" is kind of sad. Welker's a perfect fit in New England, New England loves Welker and it's a victory for the everyman when a guy like Welker gets a big-time contract. It's always possible one side decides to fold up their tent at the last minute and move closer to the middle, but it's looking unlikely.
5. Cliff Avril, DE, Lions: Avril's in a tough spot because he's only got one season of double-digit sack production (in four years total, with his production increasing each seasons), and he's on a team with a ridiculous pile of expensive contracts (a large percentage of their salary cap is already poured into Matthew Stafford, Ndamukong Suh and Calvin Johnson, not to mention Avril's tag number). He's also said he'll play under the tag this season and isn't "getting a good vibe" about a new deal.
4. Ray Rice, RB, Ravens: Rice recently said that he was "optimistic" about a new contract and there's reason for that. The Ravens need Rice to play, play happy and play well. Rice is a force across the board at his position, as he's a stud runner, a superb pass-catcher and a more than capable blocker. Additionally, the Ravens have Joe Flacco heading into the final year of his contract right now. A new deal with Rice would give them substantially more flexibility with handling their quarterback situation over the next year. Having said that, LaCanfora reported last week that things were at a "stalemate" between the Ravens and Rice, so we may be looking at no dice here unless one side can really close the gap.
3. Josh Scobee, K, Jaguars: Scobee should get paid. Well, OK, he's a kicker, but still, if Matt Prater is going to get paid, Scobee should too. He's much better. Also: how can the Jaguars act like they don't value kickers after taking a punter in the third round? The two sides were reportedly talking over the weekend, and if you're the Jags, you've just gotta knock something out and get your second-best offensive player from 2011 into camp. It's a kicker deal. Make it happen.
2. Dashon Goldson, S, 49ers: Goldson might even warrant a spot at the top of this list: the timing of Tyvon Branch's deal over this weekend could really spur some movement between the 49ers and their safety. With Branch and Michael Griffin signed this offseason, the precedent's already set to work out a deal with a safety who received the franchise tag. On the other hand, Goldson recently said he's fine playing out this season under the franchise tag even though there reportedly hasn't been any progress on a new deal. So maybe he could warrant a spot at the bottom of this list too.
1. Matt Forte, RB, Bears: Over the weekend, it was reported that Forte and the Bears were "extremely close" on a new deal. At his age (27), with his recent injury history (balky knees) and with the Bears offseason acquisitions (hello, Michael Bush), it's hard to fathom that he could really leverage a possible holdout into a monster deal. In fact, Forte said he didn't have a choice but to play, which means that we'll probably see him sign a deal Monday for a little less than the market value we've seen from other running backs this offseason.