Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
INDIANAPOLIS -- The NFC West tied the NFC South and AFC North with three franchise players when the deadline passed Thursday.
NFC West teams played some horrid defense in 2008, but all th
ree franchise players came from that side of the ball.
The Seahawks tagged linebacker Leroy Hill after ranking 25th in points allowed. The Cardinals tagged linebacker Karlos Dansby after ranking 28th. The Rams tagged safety Oshiomogho Atogwe after ranking 31st.
The franchise tag evolved into an insurance policy for an unpredictable market. Teams were willing to make one-year bets at inflated salaries in exchange for a chance to size up the long-term market once free agency begins Feb. 27. At that point, teams will have a better idea of how much players might command on long-term deals.
Eleven of the 14 franchise players this year have never earned Pro Bowl status. Julius Peppers, Terrell Suggs and Shayne Graham are the exceptions.
Divisional franchise scorecard: NFC West 3, NFC South 3, AFC North 3, AFC South 2, AFC East 1, NFC East 1, AFC West 1.