PHILADELPHIA (AP) -Tight end L.J. Smith, who was scheduled to become a free agent at the end of the month, was given the franchise tag by the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday.
Thursday marked the first day of the offseason that teams could use the tag. Although Smith can receive offers from other teams, the tag gives the Eagles seven days to match. A team signing him would have to give up two first-round picks as compensation.
``Any player wants a long-term deal - that's what you want, to feel secure in your job and also your family's position, but I'm OK with it right now,'' Smith said. ``I definitely would have preferred a long-term deal but, hey, my agent, he's going to want to talk with the team, and who knows? I didn't even think I was going to get this. Maybe they can get something worked out later on.''
If he signs with the Eagles, Smith will receive a one-year deal worth the average of the top five highest salaries earned by tight ends.
ve a very successful 2008 season.''
Injuries hampered the 27-year-old, five-year veteran throughout last season. He underwent surgery for a sports hernia in May, injured his groin in training camp in August and missed the final three games of the regular season with a sprained knee.
Smith finished with 22 catches for 236 yards and only one touchdown in 10 games after a combined 111 receptions for 1,293 yards and eight touchdowns in the previous two seasons.
``Going into the season, I guess they wanted to see me another full season healthy and they'll make their decision, and I wasn't healthy,'' Smith said. ``I wasn't able to perform at a high level for a majority of the season and I didn't even finish the season healthy.''
That isn't the case now, Smith said.
``I feel great right now,'' he said. ``I'm healthy.''
Had they let Smith go, the Eagles would have had to acquire another tight end. The only other tight ends on the roster are Brent Celek, who had a promising rookie season, and veteran backup Matt Schobel.
Although Smith still has to sign the contract, he is unlikely to end up elsewhere because teams aren't likely to part with two first-round picks to sign him.
``After the season, I said goodbye to my teammates, and I really thought I wasn't going to be back,'' Smith said. ``So today, I feel weird - just them giving me the franchise tag. But I mean, hey, I've always wanted to be here. I just think it's another opportunity for me to showcase my stuff.''

Recent NFL Discussions

Football and Basketball Newsletters on Wed, Jan 2017 by Blade
Public buries sports books on Tue, Jan 2017 by Timmy1961
Pick Wiz Play 1/15 on Mon, Jan 2017 by Michael Cash
2nd half play ne/hou on Mon, Jan 2017 by Strakey
NFL Championship Betting News and Notes on Mon, Jan 2017 by Blade

Top NFL Public Bets

Advertisement

NFL Top Stories

Thumbnail Updated NFL MVP Odds Heading into Championship Sunday, Matt Ryan is a clear favorite to take home this season's NFL MVP Award.
Thumbnail Championship Sunday Vegas Spreads How do Las Vegas oddsmakers view this weekend's championship games in the NFL?
Thumbnail Updated Super Bowl LI Betting Odds And then there were four. What are the odds of the four remaining teams to win this year's Super Bowl?
Thumbnail Pats Open as 6-Point Faves vs. Steelers The Patriots will host the Steelers in the 2017 AFC Championship Game and have opened as nearly touchdown favorites for next Sunday's...
Thumbnail Falcons open as favorites vs. Pack The Falcons will host the Packers in the 2017 NFC Championship Game, where Atlanta has opened as a small favorite.

NFL Team Pages