The Raiders opted against using the franchise tag on any of their prospective unrestricted free agents before the window to do so closed Monday afternoon.

Last season, the Raiders placed the franchise-tag designation on strong safety Tyvon Branch as a means of protecting themselves from losing one of their key starters.

Ultimately, Branch signed a long-term contract that superseded the one-year tender as the team's franchise player. Franchise-tagged players are guaranteed the average salary of the five highest-paid players at their position from the previous season.

The Raiders have until March 12 to sign any of their 17 prospective unrestricted free agents, including such key players as linebacker Philip Wheeler, tight end Brandon Myers and defensive lineman Desmond Bryant, before other teams are allowed to make offers.

Myers, who caught 79 passes for 806 yards and four touchdowns after having just 32 receptions in his previous three seasons, said conversations between his agent Andy Simms and the Raiders at the NFL scouting combine had not gone as well as hoped.

"I'd like to be there, but it's not looking like that right now," Myers said in a phone interview. "I guess I just have to stay patient and figure some stuff out. We're pretty confident I'll have a job here in a couple of weeks, but I'll just try and sit back and not stress about it."

The Raiders are approximately $1.5 million under the salary cap. They got there, in large part, because right guard Mike Brisiel agreed to a restructured contract.


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Staff writer Jerry McDonald contributed to this report.