12 NFL players are poised to get a big payday this spring, but it won’t be in the manner they’d like. Here are the dirty dozen who are likely to get tagged.
The NFL owners love the franchise tag, and it isn’t going anywhere soon.
Every offseason, there are a handful of players who are slapped with the tag by their employer before they were to embark on free agency. Using the franchise tag on a player means he’ll get the average of the top-five annual salaries at his position for the upcoming campaign. Teams can work towards negotiating a new long-term deal until July 15, or possibly trade the guy to another team.
Regardless, these 12 players are poised to earn a big payday this spring, but it’s likely to come from the franchise tag first.
Who’s getting slapped with the tag this March? Here’s our thought:
Likely 2020 NFL franchise tag candidates
- Baltimore Ravens defensive end Matt Judon
- Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green
- Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott
- Denver Broncos free safety Justin Simmons
- Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue
- Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones
- New York Giants defensive tackle Leonard Williams
- Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Bud Dupree
- San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arik Armstead
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaquil Barrett
- Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry
- Washington Redskins guard Brandon Scherff
Some of these names make a ton of sense, while others are more complicated.
Tennessee might be the most fluid situation. If Henry doesn’t get tagged, it’ll almost certainly be quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who earned Pro Bowl honors last year while taking the Titans to the brink of the Super Bowl.
Green will be getting a new franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow throwing him the ball. The Bengals will want to see if Green is healthy and if he can establish a strong connection in the passing game like he did with Andy Dalton. Jones was a star on a Chiefs defense that won the Super Bowl in February. He’ll get tagged, but that may only be a temporary solution.
Teams tagging players like Dak Prescott, Shaquil Barrett, Derrick Henry and Brandon Scherff all make sense for various reasons. The Cowboys and Titans may not want to commit to Prescott or Henry long-term, respectively. Scherff will be playing under a new head coach in Washington, while Barrett will begin year two under Bruce Arians’ reign in Tampa Bay.
The two potential tags to watch closely are Yannick Ngakoue with Jacksonville and Leonard Williams with the Giants. Ngakoue will be tagged, but is expected to be traded to another team where he will sign a new, long-term contract. New York traded for Williams from the city rival New York Jets. Who knows what the G-Men are doing honestly under Dave Gettleman?