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NFL Franchise Tag Candidates & Notable Free Agents

NFL Franchise Tag Candidates & Notable Free Agents

With Le’Veon Bell’s holdout from his franchise tag still fresh in our minds, we’ll look forward to which NFL players may be inline for a tag of their own next February.

 

Arizona Cardinals

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: FS Tre Boston, DE Benson Mayowa, WR Larry Fitzgerald, OG Mike Iupati, VIEW ALL

 

Atlanta Falcons

Franchise Tag Candidate: Grady Jarrett, DT,
After a slow first two years, the surprising 5th round pick from 2016 has put together back to back outstanding seasons in the trenches for Atlanta. While the projected $14.5M franchise tag is a big jump up from his current $1.9M salary in 2018, he’s currently valuing just under $15M, with the Jaguars’ Malik Jackson as his closest comp for now.

Notable Free Agents: OG Ben Garland, DB Blidi Wreh-Wilson, RB Tevin Coleman, OG Andy Levitre, VIEW ALL

 

Baltimore Ravens

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: ILB C.J. Mosley, WR John Brown, EDGE Za'Darius Smith, TE Maxx Williams, VIEW ALL

 

Buffalo Bills

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: EDGE Lorenzo Alexander, OG John Miller WR Kelvin Benjamin, DT Kyle Williams, VIEW ALL

 

Carolina Panthers

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: OT Daryl Williams, WR Devin Funchess, DT Kyle Love, EDGE Julius Peppers, LB Thomas Davis , VIEW ALL

 

Chicago Bears

Franchise Tag Candidate: Bryce Callahan, CB
Callahan picked a great time to fully break out, and is being used as a versatile DB for the Bears this year, putting his value in a contract year at an all-time high. The problem? Fellow corners Kyle Fuller & Prince Amukamara are also having great year, and are both under contract already for 2019, meaning a $15M tag for Callahan might be out of the question. The going rate, and his current valuation, for a slot defender, sits at $7M.

Notable Free Agents: DB Adrian Amos, OT Bobby Massie, EDGE Aaron Lynch, VIEW ALL

 

Cincinnati Bengals

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: TE Tyler Eifert, DB Darqueze Dennard, EDGE Michael Johnson, VIEW ALL

 

Cleveland Browns

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: QB Tyrod Taylor, CB Phillip Gaines, OT Greg Robinson, VIEW ALL

 

Dallas Cowboys

Franchise Tag Candidate: DeMarcus Lawrence, DE
Lawrence is playing out 2018 on his first franchise tag ($17.1M), meaning another tag in 2019 would cost the Cowboys $20.5M (120% of this years). Yes this is a big number, but it would at least keep Lawrence from hitting the open market in March, where he would be arguably the top available free agent on the board. He’s the next blockbuster contract waiting to happen, and the Cowboys should strongly consider buying in. The 26 year old carries an $20.7M valuation into the winter, so one way or another, Lawrence is getting paid this spring.

Notable Free Agents: WR Cole Beasley, DT David Irving, OT Cameron Fleming, VIEW ALL

 

Denver Broncos

Franchise Tag Candidate: None.

Notable Free Agents: OLB Shaquil Barrett, OC Matt Paradis, LB Shane Ray, OL Billy Turner, VIEW ALL

 

Detroit Lions

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: EDGE Ezekiel Ansah, VIEW ALL

 

Green Bay Packers

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: DL Muhammad Wilkerson, ILB Jake Ryan, WR Randall Cobb, OLB Clay Matthews, VIEW ALL

 

Houston Texans

Franchise Tag Candidate: Jadeveon Clowney, EDGE
Playing out his 5th-year option in 2018, the former #1 overall selection has put together back-to-back healthy, productive seasons for the Texans. But it still may not be enough to lock him in for multi-year guarantees, making him a prime candidate for the tag next February. Assuming he’s tagged as a linebacker (likely), the tag will be just north of $15M, while his current valuation comes in at $16.6M.

Notable Free Agents: DB Kareem Jackson, DB Tyrann Mathieu, CB Kayvon Webster, VIEW ALL

 

Indianapolis Colts

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: OG Mark Glowinski, S Mike Mitchell, CB Pierre Desir, VIEW ALL

 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: WR Donte Moncrief, RB T.J. Yeldon, TE James O'Shaughnessy, OG A.J. Cann, VIEW ALL

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Franchise Tag Candidate: Dee Ford, EDGE
Talk about breaking out at the right time. An injury to Justin Houston put Ford into the spotlight to start the 2018 season, and he’s responded glowingly. The 27-year-old is a Top 5 edge defender according to PFF, and on his way to an elite payday next March, be it a $15M+ franchise tag, or a multi-year deal a few million north of that. His baseline market value sits at $15.5M, but his value on the open market will be a few million higher.

Notable Free Agents: CB Steven Nelson, OG Jeff Allen, K Harrison Butker, WR De'Anthony Thomas, VIEW ALL

 

Los Angeles Chargers

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: ILB Hayes Pullard, WR Tyrell Williams, S Adrian Phillips, ILB Denzel Perryman, VIEW ALL

 

Los Angeles Rams

Franchise Tag Candidate: Ndamukong Suh, DT
The Rams essentially “tagged” Suh in 2018, handing him a 1 year, $14M contract that was nearly identical to the $13.94M franchise tag for defensive tackles. Were they to actually tag him in 2019, it would represent a slight, raise for the 31-year-old, and keep the Donald-Suh connection together for one more season. But his age, plus a reduced role on a great defensive line has dropped his calculated value to around $10M.

Notable Free Agents: S LaMarcus Joyner, OG Rodger Saffold, EDGE Dante Fowler Jr., OLB Matt Longacre, VIEW ALL

 

Miami Dolphins

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: EDGE Cameron Wake, RB Frank Gore, DE William Hayes, VIEW ALL

 

Minnesota Vikings

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: LB Anthony Barr, DT Sheldon Richardson, RB Latavius Murray, VIEW ALL

 

New England Patriots

Franchise Tag Candidate: Trey Flowers, DE
No-one has hit or sacked the QB more for the Patriots over the last two seasons than Flowers, who has improved both in production & advanced metrics exponentially over his four years in New England. The Patriots haven’t been shy about using the tag in the past, but the figure for a defensive end in 2019 will be well over $17M, while his currently calculated valuation sits just north of $15M according to our formula.

Notable Free Agents: CB Jason McCourty, K Stephen Gostkowski, OT Trenton Brown, DE John Simon, VIEW ALL

 

New Orleans Saints

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: RB Mark Ingram, QB Teddy Bridgewater, LB Craig Robertson, LB Manti Te'o, VIEW ALL

 

New York Giants

Franchise Tag Candidate: Landon Collins, S
After back to back elite campaigns in 2016 & 2017, Collins (and the rest of the Giants), has been a bit inconsistent in 2018. But his resume over the past few seasons is strong enough to at least consider keeping him around. The Giants, however, may be thinking about a complete tear down on the defensive side of the ball, so a projected $11.5M tag for Collins would certainly be out of the question in that regard. With a calculated market valuation north of $9M right now, a multi-year deal could be on the table. But based on the Giants currently outlook, he might be looking to sign that elsewhere.

Notable Free Agents: DT Josh Mauro, DE Kerry Wynn, VIEW ALL

 

New York Jets

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: LB Avery Williamson, DT Steve McLendon, WR Quincy Enunwa, CB Morris Claiborne, VIEW ALL

 

Oakland Raiders

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: TE Jared Cook, RB Marshawn Lynch, DT Johnathan Hankins , VIEW ALL

 

Philadephia Eagles

Franchise Tag Candidate: Brandon Graham, DE
The Eagles are exactly in the best cap situation next year, but there are a few moves (releasing Nick Foles, Chris Long/Michael Bennett) that could put them in a position to lock in Graham. Philly will likely try to get a long-term deal done out of the gate, to avoid the damning $17.5M tag hit. Graham’s production has been outstanding, and even at 30-years-old, will carry a calculated market valuation of nearly $16M into the winter.

Notable Free Agents: DE Chris Long, ILB Jordan Hicks, WR Golden Tate, CB Ronald Darby, VIEW ALL

 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Tag Candidate: Le'Veon Bell, RB
The Steelers won’t franchise Bell again, as that would cost north of $25M, but it’s very possible, if not likely, that the slap a transition tag on him next February. This won’t come without controversy though, as the Steelers will argue the tag should cost them $9.5M, while the NFLPA (and Bell’s camp) will claim the tag should remain $14.5M (120% of his last earned salary). All of this is likely a moot point, as multiple teams will likely submit an offer sheet for Bell. When he agrees to one, the Steelers will have 7 days to match, or he officially signs with the new team. The Steelers will gain no compensation for this transaction.

Notable Free Agents: OG Ramon Foster, TE Jesse James, LB L.J. Fort, VIEW ALL

 

San Francisco 49ers

Franchise Tag Candidate: Jimmie Ward, FS
Ward’s had back to back “OK” seasons in terms of production, but the 27 year old is a formidable option for the Niners. Tagging Ward at around $11.5M represents a $3M raise for him, and a short-term solution for San Francisco, in similar fashion to how the Rams have death with Trumaine Johnson, and LaMarcus Joyner over the past 4 seasons.

Notable Free Agents: OG Michael Person, K Robbie Gould, RB Alfred Morris, S Antone Exum, VIEW ALL

 

Seattle Seahawks

Franchise Tag Candidate: Earl Thomas, FS
Many feel Thomas’ career in Seattle ended with the sight of him flipping off the coaching staff while being carted off this October, but the Seahawks might have the last word here. Thomas was fantastic on the field for Seattle, despite the controversy, his lack of practice, etc. He’s just 29-years-old, and a projected $11.5M tag would represent a nice raise from his $8.5M salary this past season. Would he sign it? Probably not. But it’s worth a shot for the Seahawks.

Frank Clark, DE
Clark’s put together three really strong seasons for Seattle, but they haven’t been “elite” by any standard. His current valuation sits right around the $10M mark, so a $17M+ franchise tag would be quite an exaggeration, and for a Seahawks team that will need to fill plenty of holes next offseason, it’s a cap hit they might not be interested in taking on. A multi-year deal at a better rate makes more sense here.

Notable Free Agents: LB K.J. Wright, DE Dion Jordan, K Sebastian Janikowski, VIEW ALL

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: LT Donovan Smith, WR Adam Humphries, ILB Kwon Alexander, QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, VIEW ALL

 

Tennessee Titans

Franchise Tag Candidate: None

Notable Free Agents: ILB Will Compton, S Kenny Vaccaro, OLB Brian Orakpo, OG Quinton Spain, VIEW ALL

 

Washington Redskins

Franchise Tag Candidate: HaHa Clinton-Dix, S
The Redskins did well to acquire Clinton-Dix from the Packers at the deadline, who made a bit of a quick sell on the top-rated safety (currently #5 according to PFF). While a multi-year deal is a possibility, Washington should lock him in with a tag next February (projected $11.5M). The 26-year-old holds a $9.9M valuation on his next deal.

Notable Free Agents: LB Preston Smith, RB Adrian Peterson, VIEW ALL