The Indianapolis Colts use their franchise tag on the Peyton Manning's of the world. The San Diego Chargers use it on the Vincent Jackson's of the world. The Cleveland Browns? They use it on Phil Dawson.
In a pretty surprising move, the Browns slapped the franchise tag on the kicker who has been with their team since 1999. Dawson indicated to reporters last season that he might have played his final game as a Brown since he was a free agent. According to Adam Schefter, Dawson is set to make about $3.25 million in 2011. That is a hefty raise for him, but it still doesn't give him the contract extension he desired.
ESPN's James Walker believes the Browns will try to offer Dawson an extension still, but at the very least they can keep him for 2011 if things don't work out. Franchising kickers is not unheard of; the Bengals did it in 2009, and the Steelers did it in 2010.
Hat tip to eze t for his original FanShot.