“Early indications” are that Jaguars won’t use franchise tag

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Teams are now eligible to start using the franchise tag on their own free agents, an option that it appears the Jaguars will pass on using this year.

Ryan O’Halloran of the Florida Times-Union reports that “early indications” are that the Jaguars will not use the tag on any of their 13 unrestricted free agents. That doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the list of names, although O’Halloran is banging the drum for the Jaguars to use the tag on cornerback Derek Cox.

With Rashean Mathis also a free agent, the Jags would be at risk of losing both of their starting cornerbacks and O’Halloran argues that they should put the tag on Cox to put him into “Show Us Mode” during the 2013 season. The theory goes that Cox would be playing to show he can stay healthy and get a long-term deal with the team before the 2014 season.

It’s a decent idea, but an expensive way of putting it into action. Cox would get $10.668 million under the terms of the tag, which is a lot for a player who has played just 47 of 64 games in his first four seasons. Beyond that, Cox might be the best Jaguars cornerback over the last few years but his play hasn’t reached a level where you’d expect to see a team shelling out that kind of cash to keep him on the roster because they could probably get the same thing for less via a traditional deal with Cox or someone else.

It would be surprising if General Manager David Caldwell made tagging Cox the first big move of his tenure, but we’ll know for sure soon enough.