By Brady Henderson
Monday is the beginning of the two-week window during which NFL teams can designate franchise players, and for the second consecutive year kicker Steven Hauschka is the Seahawk most likely to receive the tag.
The Seahawks have other key players who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents, including defensive lineman Michael Bennett and receiver Golden Tate. But if he doesn’t receive a multi-year deal and Seattle decides to exercise its franchise-tag option, Hauschka appears to be the most logical candidate given the comparatively low price it would cost to use it on him.
The projected franchise-tag amount for kickers is around $3.4 million compared to more than $12 million for defensive ends and more than $11 million for receivers. Hauschka, 28, signed a one-year deal last offseason that paid him $715,000, according to the website spotrac.com.
Such a raise would be significant but not prohibitive, especially for someone who has become one of the league’s most reliable kickers. Hauschka has connected on 57 of 62 field-goal attempts the last two seasons, and two of those misses were the result of blocked kicks. He showed increased leg strength on kickoffs in 2013, increasing his touchback rate by nearly 10 percent from the year before.
The Seahawks last used the franchise tag on kicker Olindo Mare in 2010.
Danny O’Neil will take a closer look at the franchise tag and other free-agency- and contract-related topics later this week.
Follow Brady Henderson on Twitter @BradyHenderson.