It's the third time the team has used the franchise tag on a kicker, having previously tagged Adam Vinatier in 2002 and 2005. The designation puts Gostkowski in line to earn $4.126 million in 2015. He mae 35 of his 37 field goals in 2014, and his 94.6 percent rate was the best of his career.
With Gostkowski being tagged, Patriots safety Devin McCourty, who was a strong candidate to receive the tag, is set to reach free agency on March 10 if he doesn't re-sign with the team before free agency opens.
Report: Patriots more likely to tag Gostkowski than McCourty
A franchise tag for a kicker would be an estimated $4.5 million, while tagging a cornerback would cost about $9.5 million. If no long-term deal can be reached and neither player is tagged, they'll become free agents March 10.
Eagles kicker Parkey to replace Patriots' Gostkowski in Pro Bowl
He is the first undrafted rookie kicker to be named to the Pro Bowl since 1989 when Broncos kicker David Treadwell was named.
Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski hit only field goal on Sunday
by Chris Cwik | CBSSports.com
(1/18/15) Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski hit his only field goal attempt on Sunday against the Colts.
Gostkowski got his only opportunity with time running out in the second quarter. He managed to convert on a 21 yard field goal at the end of the half. Gostkowski didn't have another opportunity for a field goal, but did convert six extra point attempts.
Stephen Gostkowski drills five extra points in win over Ravens
by Brandon Wise | CBSSports.com
(1/10/15) Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski made all five of his extra point attempts in New England's 35-31 win over the Ravens Saturday. He remains perfect on extra points this season, now at 56 of 56.
You shouldn't go into the draft targeting any specific kicker, but if you have to pick one, Stephen Gostkowski is the guy to go for. He led the league in field goals made for the second season in a row in 2014, by connecting on 35 of 37 attempts. He is at 86.8 percent for his career and 90-plus percent in each of the last two seasons. Plus, he gets the benefit of playing for what is consistently one of the best offenses in the league. Gostkowski gets a ton of opportunities and rarely misses them, and should be the first kicker off the board on Draft Day.