Patriots slap franchise tag on Stephen Gostkowski.

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FOOTBALL

Patriots slap franchise tag on Gostkowski

The New England Patriots placed the franchise tag on three-time Pro Bowl kicker Stephen Gostkowski on Monday. The team said in an unattributed statement that the move gives the sides more time to negotiate an agreement. If no deal is reached by July 15, the Patriots will pay Gostkowski $4.126 million in 2015. Gostkowski led the NFL in total points for the fourth time in 2014. He is the leading scorer in franchise history. The 2006 fourth-round draft pick was 35 of 37 on field goals this season -- a 94.6 percentage that is the highest in Patriots history. He did not miss a kick in the postseason, converting the only field goal and all 15 extra-point attempts while helping the Patriots win their fourth Super Bowl since 2001.

The New York Giants placed the franchise tag on defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul after the 26-year-old rebounded from two injury-plagued seasons. The Giants made the move guaranteeing that their first-round draft pick of 2010 will make at least $14.813 million next season unless the two sides reach an agreement on a long-term deal by July 15. Pierre-Paul had team highs of 121/2 sacks and 21 quarterback hits playing on a defense ranked No. 29 overall. It was his best season since having 161/2 sacks in 2011, the season the Giants won their second Super Bowl under Tom Coughlin.

The Denver Broncos placed their franchise tag on star receiver Demaryius Thomas, guaranteeing him roughly $12.8 million next season and buying them more time to work out a long-term deal. General manager John Elway used that same tactic before re-signing kicker Matt Prater and left tackle Ryan Clady before training camp in recent years.

The NFL's salary cap is going up $10 million to $143.28 million for the 2015 season. All 32 teams and the players' union were notified Monday of the increase, the second straight season the cap went up by at least $10 million. Adding in benefits, the league says the projected player costs will be $180.775 million per team. The NFL's business year starts March 10, when free agency begins.

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