The NFL’s franchise tag deadline has come and gone, with 10 players getting hit with various versions of the tag. Here’s a breakdown…
Washington Redskins: QB Kirk Cousins — If Cousins plays under the tag, he’ll make an insane $19.95 million in 2016, which is amazing considering he was a backup less than a year ago. Cousins was one of the three hottest quarterbacks in football during the second half of the 2015 season, which was apparently enough to convince the Redskins he could be their franchise quarterback for years to come. Now the question is whether they can sign him to a long-term deal this spring.
Kansas City Chiefs: S Eric Berry — Berry experienced a different kind of redemption in 2015, coming back from lymphoma treatment to put together an All-Pro season. He truly is one of the best safeties in the game and is in the prime of his career, so he was definitely worth the $10.8 million tag. But now the Chiefs have to turn their attention to Dontari Poe, Derrick Johnson, Sean Smith and several other impending free agents on defense.
Baltimore Ravens: K Justin Tucker — This is simple. Kickers make only $4.6 million under the tag so there’s little risk. And Tucker missed just one field goal under 50 yards in 2015.
Buffalo Bills: OT Cordy Glenn — With Glenn and Richie Incognito both slated to become unrestricted free agents, the Bills couldn’t afford to risk letting the left side of their offensive line escape. And the o-line tag price was probably too rich for a left guard, which is why Glenn is now in line to make $13.7 million in 2015.
Carolina Panthers: CB Josh Norman — This was a no-brainer after Norman put together one of the best defensive seasons in football last year. At 28, the All-Pro is entering his prime, but Carolina will do its best to lock him up long term by July 15, avoiding having to pay $13.95 million on a one-year tender.
Denver Broncos: OLB Von Miller — The Super Bowl MVP is basically invaluable right now, and the Broncos know it. This could drag out for a while considering how much of a hot commodity Miller is, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the 26-year-old played under the tag in 2016.
Chicago Bears: WR Alshon Jeffery — The 26-year-old could make $14.6 million in 2016, which seems crazy considering he had a down year and has struggled with injuries. But he’s still likely only entering his prime and Chicago can’t afford to give up another one of Jay Cutler’s weapons.
St. Louis Rams: CB Trumaine Johnson — The 26-year-old made himself a lot of money with a seven-pick 2015 season. The tag is worth $13.95 million, and what happens with fellow corner Janoris Jenkins will likely have a large impact on long-yerm negotiations.
New York Jets: DE Muhammad Wilkerson — The non-exclusive tag means Wilkerson will be paid $15.7 million if the two sides don’t work out a long-term deal, which isn’t crazy for a 26-year-old pass-rusher coming off a 12-sack season. Still, this could make it harder to re-sign quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Miami Dolphins: DE Olivier Vernon — Miami used the transition tag on Vernon, which entitles the pass-rusher to $12.7 million in guaranteed money but also allows him to sign elsewhere (with Miami having the right to match). After being hit with the transition tag last year, Charles Clay did exactly that. Vernon has recorded at least six sacks in each of the last three seasons.