2014 Franchise Tag Projections & Candidates

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February 17th, 2014 by Michael Ginnitti

With the franchise tag window now open for the 2014 league year, we’ll take a look at the projected values for each position as well as a few players who may be offered one in the coming days.

Position 2013 Value Tags Signed 2014 Tag
Cornerback $10,854,000 0 $11,834,000
Defensive End $11,175,000 2 $13,116,000
Defensive Tackle $8,450,000 2 $9,654,000
Linebacker $9,619,000 0 $11,455,000
Offensive Line $9,828,000 1 $11,654,000
Kicker/Punter $2,977,000 1 $3,556,000
Quarterback $14,896,000 0 $16,912,000
Running Back $8,219,000 0 $9,540,000
Safety $6,916,000 1 $8,433,000
Tight End $6,066,000 0 $7,035,000
Wide Receiver $10,537,000 0 $12,132,000

2014 Franchise Tag Candidates

Jimmy Graham (TE/WR, New Orleans Saints)

jgraham
USA TodayRegardless of his “position”, Jimmy Graham projects to be worth more than $13M per year.

The debates have already begun on whether Jimmy Graham will be honored as a tight end or a wide receiver. The CBA currently states that a player will be tagged at the position in which he takes the most snaps the year prior. Graham lined up in the slot or out wide in 67% of his snaps in 2013. The difference between a WR tag and a TE tag in 2014 is projected to be nearly $5.277 million. Neither of the figures hold up to the actual value of Graham, as a recent contract extension forecast of ours suggests. It should also be noted that the Saints hold an estimated $8,18M in cap space currently, with  a number of veteran cuts.

T.J. Ward (S, Cleveland Browns)
Ward was one of the most underrated players in the NFL in 2013, seemingly lost in the mess that was the Browns. The market for safeties is at a premium right now, so players like Ward & Jairus Byrd (BUF) would be primed for top dollars should they hit the market. The Browns hold a projected $61M in cap space for 2014, plenty of room to make some noise. With Mike Pettine, a savvy defensive mind now at their helm, it seems feasible that keeping Ward around in some capacity is a must.

Greg Hardy (DE, Carolina Panthers)
Hardy was previously forecasted to earn $13.6 million per year by our premium team, and some think that’s a lowball figure at that. The $13.1 million franchise tag would make Hardy the 3th highest average paid defensive end in football, right ahead of his colleague Charles Johnson ($12.6M). With $21.3M in cap space , the Panthers have big decisions to make.

Brent Grimes (CB, Miami Dolphins)
One of the biggest steals of the 2013 campaign may have been the acquisition of Grimes from the Falcons last offseason. He responded to his 1 year $5.5 million contract by posting the 2nd highest rating of any cornerback (according to @PFF). An $11.843M tag would make the 30-year-old the 2nd highest average paid cornerback in the NFL – right where he belongs.

Jairus Byrd (S, Buffalo Bills)
If the Bills have any shot of keeping Byrd long-term, it needs to happen now. With nearly $26 million in projected cap space, and a defense that’s just plain better when Byrd is quarterbacking it, the Bills once again have very little leverage in terms of negotiations. What they do have, is the ability to not let Jairus leave for nothing.

Michael Bennett (DE, Seattle Seahawks)
Bennett quieted a lot of doubters in 2013, supplanting himself on a great Seahawks line after coming back from a shoulder injury. He’s likely to find teams willing to offer a 3-4 year contract at 28 years old, and if Seattle can’t match that – the tag should be a priority.

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