Today - Monday, Feb. 20 - marks the first day NFL teams can assign franchise tags to their free agents, a period extending through March 5. While some teams have clear-cut needs for the designation and some teams might not exercise the franchise tag at all, the Texans could use the option to lock up Arian Foster for 2013. Short of Mario Williams, Foster is the biggest name/need on the Texans' offseason to-do list. SB Nation blogger Joel Thorman speculates a franchise tag is the safest route for Houston to keep Foster:
Texans: Arian Foster. Similar situation as [Mike] Wallace. Foster is a restricted free agent but there's concern he wouldn't be safe with a first-round tender. So the question becomes whether Foster gets the franchise tag or not. I think he probably does just so the Texans can be sure and sleep at night. But things will get interesting if Foster has a first-round tender on him. Another huge free agent for Houston is Mario Williams, but he's just too expensive. The franchise tag would be nearly $22 million for him and the Texans can't afford that. They'll try their best to work out a long-term deal with him.