There's a 14 day window beginning February 10th, to place a franchise tag on a player. This is possible because the current CBA isn't over yet. The current one ends March 4th. So we got to take this into account when talking about free agent like Mankins, Soliai, Manning, etc. Now what gets confusing is it is unknown if the franchise tag will hold up for the new CBA. So things can get messy. But it's reported teams like the Patriots will use the tag (Mankins) regardless of the unknown. This is turning into a soap opera.