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Breaking Down All 21 Franchise Tag Players

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INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05:  Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots lays on the ground in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 05: Wes Welker #83 of the New England Patriots lays on the ground in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 5, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Today is not just a big day for Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe. All the franchise tagged players face a big deadline today. If no longterm deals are struck by 3:00 p.m. (Arrowhead Time) today, the franchise tagged players must play out the year under the one-year franchise tender.

There are three groups of franchise players -- those who have not signed the tender or a longterm deal, those who have signed the tender but not a longterm deal, and those who have signed a longterm deal.

Franchise tender has not been signed and no longterm deal yet: Detroit Lions DE Cliff Avril, Kansas City Chiefs WR Dwayne Bowe, Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte, San Francisco 49ers S Dashon Goldson, Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice and Jacksonville Jaguars K Josh Scobee.

This is the group Bowe falls in -- has not signed franchise tender and no longterm deal has been reached. Of this group, only a couple of players could end up signing, including Forte, Goldson, Rice and Scobee. The others -- Avril and Bowe -- seem highly unlikely to do a deal. These players will be in the same position next year if they don't reach a longterm deal.

Franchise tender has been signed, but no longterm deal: New England Patriots WR Wes Welker, Washington Redskins TE Fred Davis, Cleveland Browns K Phil Dawson, Atlanta Falcons CB Brent Grimes, Cincinnati Bengals K Mike Nugent and Dallas Cowboys LB Anthony Spencer.

This is the group that has some security having already signed the franchise tender, but no longterm deals have been reached. Welker highlights this list as a signed franchise player, but he and the Patriots aren't close to a longterm deal. Deadlines do have a way of changing people, though.

Longterm deal has been reached: New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees, Arizona Cardinals DE Calais Campbell, Oakland Raiders S Tyvon Branch, Tampa Bay Buccaneers K Connor Barth, Denver Broncos K Matt Prater, Tennessee Titans S Michael Griffin, Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson, Indianapolis Colts DE Robert Mathis and New York Giants P Steve Weatherford.

These guys are all signed, sealed and delivered. Ideally, this is where you want to be -- getting tagged and shortly signing a longterm deal after that.