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Option for Ravens to use franchise tag begins Monday

Across the NFL, the use of the franchise begins today.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Ravens have some tough decisions to make on a couple of players.

Receiver Torrey Smith and outside linebacker Pernell McPhee are set to become unrestricted free agents, meaning the Ravens have one of three options — sign them to a new long-term deal, let them head to free agency or use the franchise tag on one of them.

The franchise tag option begins Monday.

There hasn't been much buzz on the Ravens using the tag for either player. And to be clear, using it on either player would be quite expensive against the cap this season.

The projected cap number, according to, for receivers is $12.8 million and $13.17 million for linebackers.

Those numbers won't make it an ideal situation to place the franchise tag on either Smith or McPhee, considering Smith's yardage total took a considerable drop and McPhee isn't technically a starter.

However, if the opportunity does present itself, McPhee might be worthy of at least a closer look. Though the two starters are Elvis Dumervil and Terrell Suggs, McPhee has the versatility to play multiple defensive positions. He can play down on the line and rotate as a third rush linebacker in sub packages. All that said, the $13.17 million number just seems a bit much for how the Ravens generally approach their salary cap.

The deadline to use the franchise tag is March 2. And even after applying the tag, the Ravens would have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with the tagged player.