Franchise-tag roundup: Panthers designate DE Peppers

The Carolina Panthers pulled off a double whammy Thursday, signing offensive tackle Jordan Grossto a six-year contract and designating disgruntled defensive end Julius Peppers their franchise player just hours before the deadline.

The franchise tag guarantees Peppers a one-year, $16.7 million contract, and no other team can sign him without giving up two first-round draft picks. Peppers has previously said that if the Panthers tagged him, he would request a trade, and recent reports had him putting four undisclosed teams on his wish list.

Last season, Gross played under the franchise tag in a one-year, $7.45 million deal.

The Houston Texans took the same route as the Panthers, tagging cornerback Dunta Robinson after not being able to work out a long-term contract, NFL Network's Adam Schefter reported. The franchise tag for cornerbacks is worth $9.957 million.

Robinson wasn't happy about receiving the tag. He said Texans general manager Rick Smith told him and his agent that Robinson wouldn't be tagged in recent weeks.

"Tagging was out of the question, according to Rick," Robinson told The Associated Press. "I was told that. I just feel betrayed. I'm disappointed that they lied to me."

The Tennessee Titans slapped their franchise tag on tight end Bo Scaife, who was their leading receiver in 2008 with a career-high 58 catches. The franchise tag means Scaife will earn $4.46 million in 2009.

Scaife's agent, Kevin Roberson, recently had said that his client intended to test the market once free agency starts Feb. 27.

The Titans still have 12 other players who become free agents on Feb. 27, with defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth wanting to become the league's highest-paid defensive lineman after being slapped with the franchise tag for 2008. He played the season for $7.92 million.

The Seattle Seahawks designated linebacker Leroy Hill their franchise player. Hill has started in 50 of 56 games played in his NFL career, and he finished third on the team with 81 tackles last season.

The last team to use its franchise tag was the Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers, who designated offensive tackle Max Starks, even though he didn't begin the 2008 season as a starter. Starks, who was paid $6.9 million as a transitional player in 2008, is guaranteed $8.451 million in 2009.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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