Bears won't use franchise tag

As we discussed Thursday, NFL teams can affix the franchise tag on players through Feb. 24. Friday, the Chicago Bears announced they will pass.

Here's what Larry Mayer of ChicagoBears.com wrote:

I've been informed that the Bears will not use a franchise tag on any of their players this offseason. (Franchise tags require teams to pay players a one-year salary that's equal to the average of the top five highest-paid players at their position in the NFL.) Philosophically, the Bears don't believe in doing so because it prevents players from testing the open market -- which they've earned the right to do. Spending an inordinate amount of money on a one-year deal also strangles the salary cap, making it much more difficult to sign other players. The Bears believe in rewarding their own, but they look at the franchise tag as a last resort after they've done everything possible to try to re-sign a player. Since Jerry Angelo was hired as general manager in 2001, the only franchise tag the Bears have utilized was on linebacker Lance Briggs in 2007.

Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com has reported the Detroit Lions won't use the franchise tag, either. The intentions of the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings are less clear.