Now that the football season is officially over, players whose contracts are expiring are getting antsy. That's because there is a three week dead period between the end of the Super Bowl and the official start of the new year(NFL new year). Players are smelling money. All of the top guys have been in the news recently, all saying the same thing. They want to stay with their old(current) team. But, if the money isn't right, they will be forced to go elsewhere. The worst thing that can happen to any of them right now is to get the franchise tag. That will scare other teams away and hurt the player's ability to use other teams as leverage out on the open market. Say the Ravens stick the franchise tag on Ray Lewis, if another team wants to talk to him, they have to deal with the Ravens. But if Ray Lewis is allowed to go out on the open market, the Ravens have no idea who he is talking to and what that other team is offering him. Sometimes teams bid against themselves.