Did Any Team Make a Mistake at The NFL Franchise Tag Deadline?

Only Nine Players Were Tagged Before the NFL Franchise Tag Deadline

The NFL franchise tag deadline arrived on March 5, forcing each team to make tough decisions for their franchise ahead of NFL Free Agency and the NFL Draft.

The franchise tag can be used on players whose contracts were set to expire. Three franchise tags can be used.

The first is the Non-exclusive franchise tag, which is the most common. This is a one-year tender, and it takes into account the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position over the last five years. However, a player can also choose to increase their salary by 120 percentage points if that’s a greater number than the average over the last five years.

This player can negotiate with other teams to get a feel about where he stands, but the current team has the right to match any offer or will receive two first-round draft picks as compensation if the player decides to go elsewhere.

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There’s also the exclusive franchise tag. The team that currently has the player can exclusively negotiate a contract, but this is rarely used.

Finally, teams can use a transition tag, which is the average of the top ten salaries at the position. This allows any team to refuse to match any offer from another team. But that tag doesn’t award any compensation like a first-round pick.

Below, we’ll examine some of the most talked-about tags before the NFL franchise tag deadline. Remember, players who were hit with the tag will have until July 15 to reach long-term extensions with their current teams. Any player can be traded at this time.

Who Was Tagged?

There were nine players tagged before the NFL franchise tag deadline this year.

The Jaguars placed a non-exclusive tag on Josh Allen, who is expected to earn $24 million in 2024. In 2023, he added 17.5 sacks and 33 QB hits. The Jaguars were not letting him leave their defense.

The Panthers did the same with Brian Burnes. Burnes, who is just 25 years old, has added 46 career sacks and will receive $24 million in 2024.

Meanwhile, Tee Higgins was hit with the non-exclusive franchise tag with the Bengals. He had a career-low 42 catches last season with five touchdowns. However, he dealt with injuries and didn’t have an entire season of Joe Burrow as his quarterback. He’ll likely earn around $22 million in 2024.

The Bears added a non-exclusive tag on cornerback Jaylon Johnson. He’s likely going to earn around $20 million. However, nobody should be surprised if the Bears and Johnson agree to a long-term extension before the season begins.

Baltimore gave Justin Madubuike the non-exclusive franchise tag but is also looking to agree on a long-term contract with the defensive tackle. Michael Pittman of the Colts was also hit with a non-exclusive franchise tag while he and the Colts continue to work on a potential long-term contract.

The Chiefs told L”Jarius Sneed he could seek a trade despite being hit with the non-exclusive tag. Sneed would have to go somewhere that will give him a long-term extension, or it wouldn’t make sense for him to be traded.

Tampa Bay handed out a non-exclusive franchise tag to S Antoine Winfield Jr. He’s set to make $17.1 million in 2024.

Lastly, the Patriots used their transition tag on Kyle Duggar, who has nine career interceptions in four seasons with the Patriots.

Who Wasn’t Tagged?

On the other hand, many players weren’t tagged, as some analysts projected would be.

The Giants will allow RB Saquon Barkley and FS Xavier McKinney to test free agency. This is likely the Giants throwing in the towel for the next three seasons while Daniel Jones is under contract. New York is quietly entering a rebuild at this point.

On the other hand, Christian Wilkens of the Dolphins will also hit free agency after not getting franchise-tagged. The Dolphins are likely saving some cap to re-sign Tua Tagovailoa when the time comes. They’ve already cut Xavien Howard, Jerome Baker, and Emmanuel Ogbah, so that seems to be the plan for Miami at this point.

Tagovailoa might get a contract worth more than Joe Burrow’s record-breaking deal.

Lastly, the running position is still getting overlooked after Josh Jacobs wasn’t given a franchise tag. The market for running backs will be interesting in free agency. There are so many good ones in free agency and many solid prospects coming out of college. It’ll be interesting to see where Barkley and Jacobs, among the many other running backs, end up before the NFL regular season begins. If Barkley stays healthy, he can still put up ridiculous numbers for a team like Christian McCaffrey has for the 49ers. McCaffrey is quickly becoming one of the best NFL players of all time. Barkley has that type of impact in him, too.

Once the rosters get set, the NFL spreads will start to come out. We’ll be closer to another NFL season.

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