Adam Schefter of NFL.com reports that the Falcons are expected to use the Franchise tag on punter Michael Koenen, according to league sources. Koenen is an upcoming free agent this March. The deadline for when NFL teams can designate their franchise and transition tag free agents is February 19.
If the Falcons were to tag Koenen, he would be the first punter since 2003 to ever receive such a distinction, and the second punter ever. The Franchise tag for kickers and punters this off-season is worth $2.483 million in salary.
By tagging Koenen, the Falcons get right of first refusal, meaning if Koenen were to receive any offers from other teams, they would have the right to match them. Also, if another team were to offer Koenen a contract and the Falcons chose not to match it, they would receive two first round draft picks in compensation. By tagging Koenen it essentially takes him off the free agent market.
Once Koenen signs his Franchise tender, that salary is fully guaranteed.