"Placing the franchise tag on Matt Prater ensures that he will be a Bronco in 2012," executive John Elway said. "He is a very talented kicker and an important part of our team. This gives us the ability to continue working on a long-term agreement with Matt."
Prater was a clutch performer for the Broncos down the stretch last season with four game-winning field goals. He had three straight weeks in which he kicked the winner on the game's final play, helping Tim Tebow and the Broncos go on a six-game winning streak that propelled them into the playoffs for the first time in six seasons.
He also led the league in touchback percentage (70.1) when 47 of his 67 kickoffs were not returned.
Prater has the highest percentage in league history from 50 or more yards, having connected on 12 of 16 kicks for a 75 percent clip.
Entering his sixth NFL season, Prater ranks second in team history with an 80.4 percent field goal conversion rate, just behind Jason Elam's mark of 80.6 percent. He owns the best field goal percentage (75) from 50 or more yards (12 of 16) and has converted 28 of 29 field goals in the fourth quarter or overtime.