According to the NFL's league calendar, today, February 18th, is the first day that teams can begin slapping the franchise tag on a player. The Cleveland Browns will have March 4th to make a decision as to whether or not they will use the franchise tag.

Over the past two seasons, the Browns used the franchise tag on kicker Phil Dawson. It allowed the Browns to prevent their kicker from hitting the open market, while buying time to hopefully negotiate a multi-year deal in the mean time. A multi-year deal never came for Dawson under former general manager Tom Heckert, and Dawson is coming off of his first career Pro Bowl season.

Unfortunately, Joe Banner cannot afford to slap the franchise tag on Dawson for the third year in a row. Dawson made between $3-$4 million over each of the past two seasons, but the league rule is that if a player gets hit with the franchise tag for a third time, they must be paid the average top-5 salary of the highest position in football. That would be quarterback, where it would cost Cleveland about $14 million to franchise Dawson in 2013. The Browns will either have to negotiate a multi-year deal with Dawson, or let him walk.