Today is the deadline for teams to use the Franchise or Transition tag on any players whose contracts will expire. Teams have until July 15 to reach an extension with the players. Here is the list of who we have and some brief thoughts on each.
Leonard Williams- Giants
Williams carries an astronomical franchise tag of $19.351 million, which could grow higher if he won his grievance last season over his positional designation. I had Williams pegged as the 2nd highest valued free agent behind Dak Prescott so this was always a clear possibility, but the tag number is so high I have no idea why they could not just get an extension done earlier. This will push the Giants about $11 million over the cap.
Brandon Scherff- Football Team
Our top rate free agent guard is tagged back to back years by Washington, with the tag jumping up to $18.036 million. This is pretty much pointless for a team with no quarterback and even if they had a QB pretty pointless given the cost.
Allen Robinson II- Bears
Robinson carries a $17.88 million tag plus another $100K in workout bonuses on his franchise tag. I had him ranked as the number 2 receiver and number 4 player overall in free agency so again this was pretty expected. Why Chicago could not come up with a long term extension last year is anyone’s guess, but they will now have about $20 million in cap charges they have to clear to carry this tag.
Chris Godwin- Bucs
Godwin was our top ranked wide receiver and was always likely to get tagged. The tag should cost around $15.1 million which will push the Bucs right around the cap limit for the year. This should push them into finalizing a Tom Brady extension for cap relief.
Justin Simmons- Broncos
Simmons was the first player tagged in 2021 and given the cost at $13.729 million a pretty easy decision for the Broncos. Denver had some cap space to spare while they work on a long term deal with Simmons. Simmons was our top ranked free agent safety and 12th player overall. He should sign a record setting contract at the position.
Cam Robinson- Jaguars
A lot of people are confused by this one but I am not sure why. Robinson, for all his faults, was the best young left tackle available this offseason and the price is not ridiculously high around $13.6 million. There were no other players really available in free agency so you want someone to block for your rookie QB. The Jaguars are flush with cap room so the cost was never a problem. Robinson was our 23rd ranked free agent.
Taylor Moton- Panthers
Our top ranked right tackle, Moton was always a tag candidate though I thought the $13.6 million tag might be too high. Carolina had started clearing out cap space early this year which signaled this was coming. The Panthers have about $16 million in space after this tag.
Marcus Williams- Saints
If there is one team in the NFL that does not give two you know whats about the salary cap its the Saints, who franchised Williams despite their salary cap troubles. Williams was our 14th ranked free agent and 2nd safety on the board so he fits the profile of a franchise player, but the team is not in a position to do this. The tag here may indicate that the sides are close to a contract extension because it will be difficult to carry him at this figure.
Marcus Maye- Jets
Maye was always a likely tag candidate having fallen victim to the curse of “playing too well” in his contract year for a team with loads of cap room to burn and at a position with a very affordable tag. This will be an important negotiation for the Jets who may have to pay beyond what I thought was his market to get this deal done. Maye was our 25th ranked free agent and 3rd at safety.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.