The Redskins have decided to use the franchise tag on free agent tight end
The move allows the Redskins to retain Davis's rights during free agency. If another team attempts to sign Davis, then the Redskins would be entitled to possibly two first-round draft picks.
It’s the first time the Redskins have used the franchise tag since March 2004, when the team tagged (and then traded) cornerback Champ Bailey.
Davis, 26, is coming off a career season in which he caught 59 passes for 796 yards and three touchdowns. The 796 receiving yards were the fourth-most in a season by a tight end in franchise history.
A 2008 second-round draft pick, Davis has recorded 131 receptions for 1,648 yards and 12 touchdowns in his four-year career.
Given how tight ends have taken on expanded roles in recent years, Davis could have drawn significant interest in the free agent market.
Tagging Davis does carry some risk, though.
The fourth-year player was sidelined the final four games of the 2011 season due to violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. One more violation could result in a stiff penalty from the league.
Head coach Mike Shanahan said he sat down with Davis to talk about the suspension and its impact on the team.
“Fred made a mistake,” Shanahan said. “I do feel very good about Fred as a person. I liked the way he worked. I like his attitude. I like his development over the [two years].
“I think he has had a complete change in the way he has handled himself off the field to prepare himself to be a consummate pro. Hopefully the mistake won’t happen again.”