Greg Bedard of the Boston Globe is hinting that New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez will be seeking to be franchise tagged as a wide receiver if the team does indeed intend to tag him after his deal expires in 2013.
Hernandez and his agent David Dunn will most likely attempt to go the same route tight end Jermichael Finley and his agent, Blake Baratz, went this past February when Finley was a free agent and the Packers were deciding whether or not to use the franchise tag on him.
“We looked very heavily into it”, Baratz said. “The team is going to argue it doesn’t matter where the guy lines up and what he does, he’s a tight end. The team’s going to say he was a tight end in college, he sits in the tight end meeting room, and he’s a tight end in the media guide, and on websites he’s a tight end. That’s all great, but our argument was what’s the definition of a tight end?”
Footballoutsiders.com had Finley (152 snaps) and Hernandez (123) ranked 1-2 among tight ends lining up at receiver. The next highest was Jimmy Graham of the Saints (78), and then there was a dropoff to Zach Miller of the Seahawks (32). Those figures are from the regular season and do not include lining up in the slot.
Hernandez’s contract doesn’t expire until after the 2013 season, so we have a lot of time between then. But it should be an interesting story to follow, especially if Hernandez continues to have success in the Patriots’ system.