The New England Patriots likely will not use the franchise tag on kicker Stephen Gostkowski, according to a report Tuesday from NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport.
Gostkowski, who has been with the Patriots since 2006, is set to hit unrestricted free agency when the NFL league year opens next Wednesday. New England previously franchised him in 2015 before coming to terms on a four-year contract, but reportedly will not go that route this time around.
Rapoport did report, however, that the Patriots have not ruled out using the franchise tag on another player before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. ET deadline. He also reported the team “very much wants” to re-sign the 35-year-old Gostkowski.
Gostkowski, who converted 84.4 percent of field goals and 98 percent of extra points this past season, had been viewed as the most likely Patriots player to receive the tag. The two other candidates are defensive end Trey Flowers and left tackle Trent Brown, but the cost of franchising either of those impending free agents likely would be more than New England would be willing to pay.
It would cost roughly $14 million to franchise Brown and $17.1 million to franchise Flowers. Both are expected to command massive contracts on the open market this offseason.
The cost of franchising a kicker this year is just shy of $5 million.
Other Patriots players set to become free agents next week include punter Ryan Allen, wide receivers Chris Hogan, Phillip Dorsett and Cordarrelle Patterson and cornerbacks Jason McCourty and Jonathan Jones.
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