The gamble NFL players take when accepting a franchise tag is the risk of season-ending injury damaging their value on the open market when they reach that point.
Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes is proof of that, as he will miss the 2012 season with an Achilles injury. Grimes was given the Falcons' franchise tag this offseason, which will pay him $10.28 million this season.
Pro Football Talk wrote Monday the "The timing couldn't be worse for Grimes." There isn't a good time for an Achilles tendon injury, but specifically, the major issue is the fact he does not have a long-term deal in place.
He'll get his $10.28 million under the franchise tag, but his stock as a free agent -- assuming Atlanta doesn't give him the franchise tag in 2013 -- could potentially drop quite a bit.
His recovery will be the ultimate determining factor. However, Grimes doesn't have to look far to see his successful rehabilitation could still result in a long-term deal. Steelers offensive linemen Willie Colon ruptured his Achilles tendon in spring practice in 2010, but recovered, and eventually signed a five-year contract in 2011. Colon had a bit more time to recover, though.
Grimes is one of the better defensive backs in the league, and now, it's a question of how quickly he can return to 100 percent.