The Redskins have opted to use the franchise tag on Pro Bowl cornerback Champ Bailey. The designation means that, according to NFL rules, the Redskins have the opportunity to recoup two first-round draft picks as compensation should another team attempt to sign Bailey.
The franchise tag designation also stipulates that, unless another team decides to sign Bailey or the Redskins and Bailey negotiate a new contract, the Redskins must pay him a one-year contract in 2004 that is the average of the five highest-paid NFL players at his position.
Bailey was due to become an unrestricted free agent on March 3.
Widely regarded as one of the NFL's premiere cornerbacks, Bailey has earned Pro Bowl nods four of his five years in the league. The Redskins selected him in the first round (seventh overall) of the 1999 NFL Draft.
Often charged with covering a team's top receiver, Bailey recorded 72 tackles (61 solo), two interceptions, 17 passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble last season.