With the franchise tag period here, here are some possible players that I think will get tagged within the next couple of weeks:
Jarvis Landry, WR, Miami Dolphins
A recent report has already said that the Dolphins will tag Landry. However, that doesn’t mean both sides will agree on a long-term deal. The Dolphins also have a history of tagging players and then moving on before the season even begins. Olivier Vernon was tagged and then had his tag rescinded in 2016, while Charles Clay was transition tagged before being picked up by the Bills in 2015. Landry is a great receiver, but plays most of his snaps in the slot so their are questions on whether he deserves WR1 money. Ultimately, I think that Landry’s best fit is in Miami and think the Dolphins love the young wide receiver as well. I expect a tag in this situation with a long-term deal in the coming months.
Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Most people think that Pittsburgh tagging Bell for a second consecutive year is a no-brainer, but I wouldn’t be so sure. Bell has already voiced his displeasure this offseason, stating that he would retire if he had to play under the tag for a second year. The tag would also be bad business for the Steelers. The projected price of a franchise tag for a running back is about $12 million and that would tie up a lot of their free agency money into one positon when they have many other needs on the defensive side of the ball. If I were the Steelers I would forget about Bell and draft a back in the second round of the NFL Draft.
Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Dallas Cowboys
The breakout defensive end had a team-high 14.5 sacks this year and would cost the team about $17.5 million to franchise. Lawrence has had a career filled with injuries and suspensions, but double-digit sack production is hard to come by, especially for the Cowboys. I expect Lawrence to play under the tag this year and have to prove his worth in order to get a long-term deal next year.
Ezekiel Ansah, DE, Detroit Lions
Ezekiel Ansah also has had an injury-filled career, but much like Dallas, the Lions don’t have many other options. Detroit is expected to have around $40 million to spend this offseason and it would be smart to try to lock up the stud DE. Matt Stafford isn’t getting any younger and it’s time to stock up the defense. I expect the Lions to franchise Ansah and potentially work out a long-term deal this offseason.
Andrew Norwell, OG, Carolina Panthers
Norwell went from an undrafted free agent to an all-pro offensive linemen, so expect him to want to cash in this offseason. The Panthers have plenty of holes to fill this offseason and have already invested a ton of money into their offensive line. It also doesn’t help that Norwell would essentially be getting tackle money because of the way the franchise tag is set up for linemen. Multiple reports have stated that the Panthers won’t franchise the guard and he is expected to cash in this offseason.
Allen Robinson, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars
It wasn’t long ago that Robinson had over 1,000 yards in a season and was viewed as a top-5 wide receiver. However, Blake Bortles and a torn ACL has made the situation a little bit tricky. The WR tag is a little pricy at around $16 million, but the Jaguars have never been afraid to spend in free agency. The Jags also have had great production from young wide outs last season and it’s not like Blake Bortles is running a pass heavy offense anyway . That being said elite wide receivers are hard to find and the Jaguars have the money. I expect Robinson to get tagged.
Sammy Watkins, WR, Los Angeles Rams
Sammy Watkins career in the NFL so far has been a disappointment. After exploding on the scene his rookie year, the former first round pick has regressed. He was injured a few years ago and was traded to the LA Rams this past offseason…a Rams team that had no problem scoring points and gaining yards this past season. However, Watkins did. Watkins is far from the player he was his rookie year and it makes sense for the Rams to spend the $16 million else where. I expect Sammy Watkins to hit the market.