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.
Stephen Gostkowski has been among the best Fantasy kickers the past three seasons, and he enters 2014 as the No. 1 kicker coming into the year. He has been a Top 3 Fantasy kicker each of the past three seasons, including No. 1 in Fantasy points last year with 38 of 41 field goals and 44 extra points. He made five kicks of 50-plus yards, and he had nine games with double digits in Fantasy points. His 38 field goals were a career high, but his 44 extra points were a low over the past three seasons when he had 66 in 2012 and 59 in 2011. If that number rises with the chance for 30-plus field goals again then Gostkowski should dominate. Most kickers are only worth drafting with a last-round pick, but Gostkowski is one of the few exceptions to take a round or two earlier based on his consistency of excellence.