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Potential franchise-tag numbers highlighted by increase for DTs

The NFL Management Council has yet to release official franchise-tag numbers for the 2011 season, and, with the collective bargaining agreement set to expire March 3, the use of the tag continues to be challenged by the NFL Players Association.

However, the league has advised teams that they can tag players, and the deadline to do so expires Feb. 24.

Franchise-tag amounts are based on the top-five salaries at each position. In the case of those players already paid top-five money, teams must tag at 120 percent of the prior year's salary, if that figure is greater than the franchise amount.

According to a league source, the following numbers are in line with what the NFLPA expects franchise tags to equate to in 2011, assuming they are upheld in the next CBA:

Quarterbacks: $16 million ($16.4 million in 2010)
Running backs: $9.5 million ($8.15 million in 2010)
Wide receivers: $11.3 million ($9.5 million in 2010)
Tight ends: $7.3 million ($5.9 million in 2010)
Offensive linemen: $10.1 million ($10.7 million in 2010)
Defensive ends: $12.9 million ($12.4 million in 2010)
Defensive tackles: $12.5 million ($7 million in 2010)
Linebackers: $10 million ($9.7 million in 2010)
Cornerbacks: $14 million ($9.6 million in 2010)
Safeties: $8.8 million ($6.5 million in 2010)
Kickers: $3.1 million ($2.8 million in 2010)

The significant jump for defensive tackles is largely fueled by the $21 million bonus that Albert Haynesworth received from the Washington Redskins last spring.

Some teams opted to place large bonuses and higher salaries in 2010, assuming an uncapped year, which turned out to be the case. That led to jumps in some position groups, while others project to stay stable or even slightly decrease.

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