The NFL’s recreation of franchise tag has began once more for 2021. Tuesday marked the opening of the two-week window for all 32 groups to designate one pending unrestricted free agent as their franchise participant.
From now till March 9, groups should resolve whether or not they have a worthy candidate to lock right into a one-year, assured top-market deal, both as a short-term contract or place-holder for a profitable long-term deal.
Here the eight best candidates to be tagged from round the league vs. getting prolonged early or hitting NFL free company:
MORE: Top 50 unrestricted free brokers for 2021, best gamers by postiion
(*8*)Chris Godwin, WR, Buccaneers
Based on their defensive free-agency considerations with edge rusher Shaquil Barrett, linebacker Lavonte David and sort out Ndamukong Suh, the Bucs ought to prioritize signing Barrett long-term after tagging him final yr. That leaves the tag out there for Godwin this yr. That will likely be the smartest use of it, costing round $16 million for 2021.
According to OverTheCap.com, the Buccaneers are round $13 million underneath the cap if it stays round $180 million. A number of shrewd cuts and a well-structured deal for Barrett can be sure their two most important pending free brokers in relation to the passing recreation and cross rush do not go anyplace in free company.
(*8*)Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions
Golladay, like Godwin, could be tagged at round $16 million, being of the identical place. The Lions do not have a fantastic cap state of affairs, about $8 million over $180 million. But they will make some fast cuts to free up sufficient room to maintain Golladay at that worth, led by releasing cornerbacks Desmond Trufant and Justin Coleman, and defensive sort out Danny Shelton.
Keeping Golladay is a excessive precedence with their different exterior beginning wideout, Marvin Jones Jr., and veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola, additionally unsigned for 2021. They want Golladay as the field-stretching and pink zone go-to man for new QB Jared Goff to best complement tight finish T.J. Hockenson and working again D’Andre Swift.
(*8*)Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers
Henry is a powerful candidate to be tagged for a second consecutive offseason. He’s a key blocker and integral a part of their short-to-intermediate passing recreation for second-year QB Justin Herbert. After taking part in at $10.6 million in 2020, the 20 p.c enhance tied to a different tag would push up his wage to $12.7 million in 2021. The Chargers have $24 million underneath the cap for now and that is not too huge of an additional assured funding in him.
(*8*)Justin Simmons, S, Broncos
The Broncos tagged Simmons in 2020 and he responded with one other huge season cleansing up on the again finish. Should they tag him once more as anticipated for affordable worth vs. the prime of the security market, he would see his assured one-year wage go as much as $13.8 million. With Denver round $31 million underneath the cap, this makes the most sense earlier than worrying once more a few longer-term deal.
(*8*)Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
Prescott must be tagged once more if the Cowboys nonetheless can’t include up an agreeable probably four-year deal over the subsequent couple of weeks. Because he was tagged final yr, his quantity would go as much as $37.7 million in 2021, inflicting Dallas, which is round $19 million underneath the projected cap, to make another strikes to make that occur.
(*8*)Allen Robinson, WR, Bears
The Bears are greater than $2 million over the cap because it stands however have some contracts they will get off their books to assist match in Robinson, beginning with defensive sort out Akiem Hicks and tight finish Jimmy Graham. Cutting them each now would convey $17.5 million in cap aid, virtually simply sufficient to suit in Robinson at $16 million.
Robinson is not thrilled about accepting a lesser deal long run to remain in Chicago, so this may be the solely method to preserve him. It would additionally imply the Bears would want to seek out their beginning quarterback in the draft vs. re-signing Mitchell Trubisky to a medium market deal. The Bears are additionally proper to consider tagging and buying and selling Robinson vs. letting him stroll for nothing.
(*8*)Brandon Scherff, G, Washington
Scherff additionally would get two consecutive tags if this occurs, which means he could be tagged at $15.98 million this time. It could be tougher for Washington lock him up lengthy time period, however at the least it has greater than $38 million underneath the wage cap with which to function.
(*8*)Taylor Moton, OT, Panthers
Moton, coming off a breakout blocking season as an all-around proper sort out, may be tagged at a bit underneath $14 million, relying on the last complete cap quantity. This is a straightforward choice for the rebuilding Panthers, who’re sitting on greater than $31 million in cap area.