Franchising Gostkowski would cost the Patriots close to $4.5 million guaranteed, while applying the designation to McCourty would run them around $9.5 million for the 2015 season.
Reiss admits that things could always change between now and the 4 pm EST deadline to apply franchise tags, but this is what his sources have said.
It’s worth mentioning that the Patriots have shown a tendency to franchise kickers in the past, as they used the designation on Adam Vinatieri in 2002 and 2005.
Adam Caplan mentions that McCourty should have a “strong market” if he’s allowed to test the open market, as teams reportedly view him as the top safety in this year’s free agent class.
Gostkowski, 31, is clearly the best available kicker in this year’s pool of free agents.
In 2014, he converted 35 of 37 field goal attempts and all 51 extra point attempts for the Patriots. Pro Football Focus has Gostkowski rated as the No. 21 kicker in the league last year.
McCourty, 27, played out his five-year, $10 million contract that includes $7.825 million guaranteed and will be an unrestricted free agent as of next week.
This season, McCourty appeared in 16 games for the Patriots and totaled 68 tackles, two interceptions, and one forced fumble. Pro Football Focus has McCourty ranked as the No. 8 safety in the league this season.
We have him currently listed as the No. 6 player in our Top 100 Free Agents list.