The NFL franchise game has resumed for 2021. Tuesday marked the opening of a two-week window for all 32 teams to nominate a pending unrestricted free agent as their franchise player.
From now until March 9, teams must decide whether they have a one-year lock-in guarantee for a qualified candidate, a top-market deal guaranteed, either for a short-term contract or an attractive long-term deal As a place-holder.
Here are eight of the best candidates to be tagged from all around the league, hurrying up or hitting NFL free agency:
MORE: Top 50 unrestricted free agents for 2021, best player by post
Chris Godwin, WR, Bookers
Based on his defensive free-agency concerns with edge razor Shakeel Barrett, tackle linebacker Lavonte David and Nadamukong Suh, the Bucs should prioritize signing Barrett long-term after tagging him last year. This leaves the tag available for Godwin this year. It will be its smartest use for 2021, at a cost of $ 16 million.
According to OverTheCap.com, The Buccaneers are around $ 13 million under the cap if it stays around $ 180 million. A few clever cuts and a well-structured deal for Barrett could ensure that his two most needed pending free agents do not go anywhere in free agency regarding the passing game and the pass rush.
Kenny Golladay, WR, Lions
Goldwyn, like Goldwyn, would be tagged for around $ 16 million, being of the same position. The Lions do not have a spectacular cap position, more than $ 180 million to $ 8 million. But they can make some quick cuts to free up enough room to keep goalies at that price, led by cornerbacks Desmond Truffant and Justin Coleman, and tackle defensive tackle Danny Shelton.
Keeping goalie is a high priority with his others, who have also unsigned for 2021, Marvin Jones Jr., and veteran slot receiver Danny Amendola, right from the start. He needs field-stretching for new QB Jared Gough and Golade as Ready Go-Two. Best to complement tight TJ Hockenson and run back D’Andre Swift.
Hunter Henry, TE, Chargers
Henry is a strong candidate to be tagged for the second consecutive offshin. He is an important blocker and integral to his short-to-intermediate passing game for second-year QB Justin Herbert. After earning $ 10.6 million in 2020, a 20 percent increase tied to another tag would increase his salary to $ 12.7 million in 2021. The Chargers have $ 24 million under the cap for now and this is not much bigger than the additional guaranteed investment for them.
Justin Simmons, S, Broncos
The Broncos tagged Simmons in 2020 and he responded with another big season, cleaning up the back end. Should they tag him again as expected for a reasonable price. At the helm of the security market, he would have to go to his guaranteed one-year salary of $ 13.8 million. With Denver under cap, $ 31 million, it makes the most sense before worrying again about a long-term deal.
Dak Prescott, QB, Cowboys
If the Cowboys still can’t agree with a four-year agreement in the next few weeks then Prescott should be tagged again. Because he was tagged last year, his number would rise to $ 37.7 million in 2021, leaving Dallas, which is about $ 19 million under the projected cap, to take some other steps to do so.
Alan Robinson, WR, Bear
Beers is over $ 2 million above the cap because it has some contracts that could close its books to help fit in Robinson, starting with defensive Akeem Hicks and tight end Jimmy Graham. Cutting both of these would now yield $ 17.5 million in cap relief, enough to fit in Robinson for about $ 16 million.
Robinson is not thrilled about accepting a lesser deal long term to stay in Chicago, so that may be the only way to keep him. It would also mean the Bears would need to find their starting quarterback in a middle market deal to draft vs. re-signing Mitchell Trubisky. Beers is also right to think about tagging and trading versus Robinson.
Brandon Shroff, G, Washington
If that happens, Sherff will get two consecutive tags, meaning she will be tagged for $ 15.98 million this time. It will be tough for Washington to keep him locked up for long, but at least he has a $ 38 million salary cap with which to work.
Taylor Moton, OT, Panthers
Moton, coming off as an all-around right tackle during a breakout blocking season, could be tagged in under $ 14 million based on the final total cap number. The rebuild is an easy decision for the Panthers, who are sitting on more than $ 31 million in cap space.