Sometimes two sides just can’t come to terms on a new contact – that’s where the franchise tag comes into play. To avoid their prized players from hitting the free agent market, teams will hit those players with the franchise tag which gives them a one year contract worth the average of the top 5 player salaries at the position. Typically teams use it when they aren’t willing to cough up the amount of money the player demands over a longterm deal. Otherwise, it serves as a one year, make or break season where the player can prove himself and cash in the next offseason.

Some quality players were taken off the market leading up to the tag deadline. Let’s take a look at who is now off the market and how that effects free agency.

  • Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
  • Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
  • Cordy Glenn, Buffalo Bills
  • Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets
  • Olivier Vernon, Miami Dolphins
  • Von Miller, Denver Broncos
  • Josh Norman, Carolina Panthers
  • Trumaine Johnson, Los Angeles Rams
  • Eric Berry, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Justin Tucker, Baltimore Ravens

The most intriguing of the tagged players is of course Super Bowl MVP, Von Miller. Arguably the best pass rusher in the NFL, Miller was going to demand a mega contract which he will in fact receive next offseason. Putting the “exclusive” tag on Miller pays him more money and denies teams the ability to trade for him, while providing Denver more flexibility this offseason. However, guys like Malik Jackson and Brock Osweiler may hit the open market.

Other defensive studs such as Olivier Vernon, Muhammad Wilkerson, Josh Norman and Eric Berry were tagged as well. Vernon brokeout this past year in Miami and was one of the most disruptive ends in the league. Wilkerson is New York’s best defensive linemen, but he will likely hit the market next offseason with the abundance of linemen already in the Big Apple. Norman was a key component in Carolina’s march to the Super Bowl, he made a name for himself as one of the top corners in the NFL. Berry was named the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year and he will likely reach a longterm deal with the Chiefs sometime within the next year.

Other than Miller, the biggest name was Kirk Cousins. For about a week or two now, it was unclear whether or not he would return to Washington for next season. At first it looked like Cousins would hit the market as he was demanding too much money. As it played out, he got the franchise tag which will pay him nearly $20M next season. I really like this deal for the Redskins, give him one year to prove he’s worth a longterm deal at this salary.

Although he wasn’t tagged, Sam Bradford was another QB taken off the market as he reached a 2 year deal worth up to $40M with the Eagles. This leaves the QB market very thin.

Stay tuned for more free agency news, along with our NFL Free Agency Preview which will be posted before the free agency period starts on March 9th.



About The Author Jonathan Valencia

The Editor-in-Chief of Breaking Football, Jonathan has been an amateur NFL Draft evaluator for nearly the past five years. He prides himself on producing extensive, informative content. Follow him on Twitter @JonValenciaBF for fresh draft takes and GIF analysis of draft prospects. Born and raised in the Jersey Shore area, Jonathan now resides in Washington state with his wife.