As one player follows Drew Brees footsteps, five still have franchise tag

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December 19, 2010; Tampa, FL, USA; Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril (92) warms up before the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees ended his franchise tag drama on Friday as another player did on Saturday.  This leaves five more left to be signed to a long-term deal by Monday.

Saturday morning, Oakland Raiders safety Tyvon Branch ended his tag status by signing a four-year deal that was reported to be worth a little over $26 million with a maximum of $28 million if he meets certain incentives.

Now only five players are left in the franchise tag status:  Detroit Lions defensive end Cliff Avril, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice, Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe, and San Francisco 49ers safety Dashon Goldson.

Of these players, there are several reports that Forte is optimistic and that a deal could be imminent in the next day or so.  On the opposite side, there have been little on the other four.

Avril has expressed displeasure at the lack of negotiations between the Lions and his agent.  The Lions have been pretty tight-lipped as far as contract talks goes and the mood is bleak.

Rice has recently stated that he wants to be payed and the Ravens would be wise to do so.  With the hints he has been giving, Rice could be a candidate for sitting out of training camp.

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Tags: Baltimore Ravens Chicago Bears Cliff Avril Dashon Goldson Detroit Lions Drew Brees Dwayne Bowe Kansas City Chiefs Matt Forte New Orleans Saints Oakland Raiders Ray Rice San Francisco 49'ers Tyvon Branch