With two days to go, no franchise tags yet

Green Bay Packers v Baltimore Ravens
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Last year, 10 of the NFL’s 32 teams applied the franchise tag to block players from becoming free agents.

And, yes, before we go any farther, let’s pause to review what the franchise tag really is. Despite the implication that the player is a “franchise player” and that there’s some sort of honor that flows from the title, it’s an affront to the player. An insult. A deliberate delay in his opportunity to realize the financial reward he has earned — and an effort to minimize the total value of the long-term deal he eventually accepts from his current team. (For more hard truths about the manner in which the system sticks it to players, and in furtherance of my own efforts to make a little walking-around money, order Playmakers. Please. Thank you.)

This year, no tags have been applied, 12 days into the period for doing so. Teams have two days until the window closes.

The fact that no tags have been applied so far underscores a point we’ve made in the past. There’s no reason to have two weeks to apply the tag. All that’s needed is one day. From 8:00 a.m. ET until 4:00 p.m. ET on one specific day, the tag can be applied.

Some teams in the recent past have dropped the tag before heading to the Scouting Combine, either to get the matter handled without procrastination (and risk of a screw-up) or to put teams inclined to tamper with those players during the Combine gathering on notice to back off.

It’s not as if no tags will be applied this year. While there may not be 10 of them, there will be some. The Bengals reportedly plan to tag safety Jessie Bates. The Chiefs likely will use it on tackle Orlando Brown Jr. The Browns reportedly are considering the use of the tag on tight end David Njoku. Packers receiver Davante Adams seems destined to be tagged. Titan linebacker Harold Landry could be tagged, too.

No team is currently facing the dilemma of having two players rocketing toward free agency, creating an urgency to sign one and tag the other. Thus, as to the players who may be tagged, here’s some get-your-money’s-worth free advice. Force the team to tag you. It’s always better to be tagged once because the next tag, whenever it’s applied, sets the stage for the cost-prohibitive third tag and, as a result, unrestricted and unfettered free agency.

Four years ago, Packers receiver Davante Adams agreed to a four-year deal after the regular season ended, in a rare year that didn’t result in a postseason appearance. He should have waited, at least for the tag decision to be made. If the Packers had tagged him then, he’d be getting his second tag now. And he’d be guaranteed to become a free agent in 2023.

Thus, while it’s a bad thing to have the franchise tag applied, it’s a good thing to force a team that has the tag in its back pocket to put it on the table. One of the essays in Playmakers focuses on how players can beat the tag. But it’s not a complex recipe. Force them to use it twice, because it’s very difficult to use it a third time.

16 responses to “With two days to go, no franchise tags yet

  1. If GB plans on tagging davante, they will be cutting players and restructuring like crazy. #CapHell

  2. I’m tired of “keep players happy” management. Tag Adams. Trade Rodgers. Let’s see how much of Adams was actually Rodgers.

  3. If Rodgers gets traded and the keep Adams will he still get the Rodgers rate?

  4. Let’s remember that a franchise player will be paid the average of the top 5 players in his position. The player will be paid top notch money, regardless of its merits. Exclusive and non-exclusive franchise tags apply the top 5 salaries (non-exclusive averages the top 5 salaries over the last 5 years) differently.

  5. stexan1 says:
    March 6, 2022 at 10:34 am
    Kirk Cousins played the game perfectly in Washington.

    He did In Minnesota as well

  6. For Green Bay it is pretty obvious to Franchise tag Davonte Adams. Whether Aaron stays or not makes no difference IMO. If Aaron leaves then trade him for a #1 pick. If Aaron stays then I doubt if Aaron would allow trading hm.
    I personally think it time has come to move on for everyone involved to move on. The Packers have the most potential to acquire serious Draft Capital if Aaron agrees to move on. Denver at #9 & 40 plus 2023.. Davonte would be a #1 in 2022 how high is the only question

  7. It depends on position. It’s smart for safeties and running backs to get long-term deals early because their shelf life is a lot shorter. Two years gaming franchise tags might mean the end of their career by the time they hit free agency.

    It makes a lot more sense for QBs to rely on tags because they’re so protected, and even if they do suffer injury the skill set they rely on won’t disappear. A safety with an ACL/MCL tear may never be able to come back at full speed; a QB can do it just fine because they can compensate with other parts of their game.

    Gaming the tag works for some positions, not for others. Most positions are in the middle. If Davante Adams takes a bad step next year, as a WR hitting 30, he’ll be wishing he signed a long-term deal.

  8. To get to the point of the first tag plus then suggesting get tagged twice , that’s an Eternity in the career span of most players. So much risk of major injury along the way And No guaranteed fat bonus payouts either per a new 3-5 year contract. This idea just does not make sense. They need their 2nd actual contract as rapidly as possible in their careers

  9. The franchise tag is good for the game. No team wants to see their franchise player just walk away to another team. Some teams wait decades before they get a franchise QB, losing one after their rookie deals expire would be devastating. Imaging how Bengals fans would react if Joe Burrow left to go to Pittsburgh and there is nothing the Bengals could do about it…

  10. Stefanski is calling plays and now Njoku may be franchised? Not a good start to 2022

  11. No chance DA signs the 1 year tag in GB. He will hold out for months. I know they want to have full rights to negotiate, but this will take till Sept to resolve at the earliest. Tagging him would be a huge mistake.

  12. Taking advantage of the rules that the player collectively bargained for is not an insult to anyone.

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