Eagles do not use franchise tag on Maclin

The Eagles didn't use their franchise tag on wide receiver Jeremy Maclin, as expected, or any other player for that matter.

They had until a 4 p.m. Monday deadline to use to either the franchise or transition tag designation on one of their free agents. Maclin, who had a career year last season, was the only likely candidate. The receiver tag was worth $12.82 million for the 2015 season.

The Eagles have been negotiating with the 26-year-old Maclin on a long-term contract for some time, but now have only until next Tuesday to work out a deal before he hits the open market. Maclin has said that he expects something to get done since both sides have expressed a desire to stay together.

Maclin would be one of the top receivers in free agency, especially after the Cowboys and Broncos used their franchise tags on Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas, respectively. The Packers didn't tag the 24-year-old Randall Cobb, who could be the most attractive free agent receiver.

Last offseason, the Eagles and Maclin talked about a long-term contract even though he missed all of the 2013 season with the second torn anterior cruciate ligament of his career. But Maclin opted for a one-year deal and delivered the best season (85 catches for 1,318 yards and 10 touchdowns) in his six NFL years.

The Eagles have only three receivers from their 2014 53-man roster currently under contract - Riley Cooper, Jordan Matthews and Josh Huff.

Only five teams used their franchise tags. Aside from the Cowboys and Broncos, the Chiefs tagged linebacker Justin Houston, the New York Giants franchised defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and the Patriots tagged kicker Stephen Gostkowski. The Dolphins used their transition tag on tight end Charles Clay.

With Houston and Pierre-Paul off the market, Eagles linebacker Brandon Graham should be one of the more sought-after edge rushers in free agency. The Eagles have expressed an interest in keeping Graham, but he always stood to earn more in free agency as a 4-3 defensive end rather than an outside linebacker in a 3-4 scheme.


jmclane@phillynews.com

@Jeff_McLane