Stephen Gostkowski signs franchise tender

Kicker Stephen Gostkowski, who received the franchise tag from the New England Patriots, officially signed the $4.59-million tender offer on Friday. The news was first reported by Field Yates of ESPN.

The Patriots and Gostkowski can still work on a contract extension up until July 15.

By signing the tender, Gostkowski guarantees himself the $4.59-million salary for 2014. Another reason to sign the tender is to protect himself in the event the team decided to pull the tender, which, while unlikely, is still a leverage point.

In assigning the franchise tag to Gostkowski on Monday, the Patriots said in a statement, "Stephen has been extremely productive and a vital component to our success since joining our team in 2006. Utilizing the franchise designation allows both sides more time to try to reach an agreement, which is the goal."