Beginning today, NFL teams can begin placing the Franchise Tag on their own players. Free agents cannot be signed by other teams until March 8th. The tag must be used between now and March 5th, at which point those not tagged will be free to hit the open market and negotiate with other teams.
The Baltimore Ravens are expected to use the Franchise Tag on running back Ray Rice. Because they are focused on signing Joe Flacco to a long term deal, the odds of them also signing Ray Rice before the March 5th Franchise Tag deadline are slim. Tagging Ray Rice will buy the Ravens time to get their roster settled and allow them to re-sign Rice at a later time.