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NFL Free Agents 2012: Raiders Unlikely To Apply Franchise Tag To Michael Bush

The Oakland Raiders are in one of their most intense rebuilding offseasons in franchise history. They have a multitude of questions to answer and scenarios to look at. The latest wrinkle begins on Monday, which is the first day that NFL teams can apply franchise tags to impending free agents. Teams will have until March 5 to decide whether to apply a franchise tag, before free agency begins on March 13.

Gregg Rosenthal at NBC Sports recently posted a column looking at which players are most likely to receive the franchise tag from their current team. He believes that the Raiders will consider applying the tag to running back Michael Bush, but that the tag will likely go to Tyvon Branch.

The old Raiders would tag Bush. New G.M. Reggie McKenzie knows he doesn’t need to pay that much for a back, especially with Darren McFadden on the roster. Safety Tyvon Branch is a better candidate in Oakland. A long-term deal with Branch seems more likely.

Levi Damien at Silver and Black Pride points out that the franchise tag on Bush would run in the neighborhood of $7.7 million for 2012, which would have him earning more than $2 million more than the starting running back, Darren McFadden. That's very unlikely to happen and difficult to justify. It seems more likely that Bush will test the open market, possibly searching for a team where he can be the starting RB.

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