Green Bay, WI (Sports Network) - The Green Bay Packers have designated offensive tackle Chad Clifton their franchise player.
Under NFL rules, Clifton will have a one-year contract at the franchise tender number for offensive linemen set by the league. The Packers and Clifton can still negotiate a long-term deal.
Clifton, though, can also sign an offer sheet with another club, but the Packers can match it. Should Green Bay decide not to match an offer, the club would receive two first-round draft choices.
The 27-year-old Clifton started all 16 games in 2003 for the Packers and has been the club's left tackle for the past four seasons.
He made a quick recovery from a career-threatening hip injury sustained in November 2002, when Tampa Bay's Warren Sapp blind-sided him during an interception return.