The NFL season never sleeps. Next Wednesday is another key date of the NFL off season as teams prepare to make a decision on key players who they may need to drop the NFL’s franchise tag upon. If you are not familiar with the term “franchise tag” or are curious as to what it means, following is a summary of the NFL’s definition.
A franchise tag is a designation that a team may apply to a player who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent – thus “forcing” the players hand in a way, making him stay with his current team for another season. The tag binds the player to the team for one year if certain conditions are met.
This year many big named players are eligible to search for a bigger and better contract, and none are bigger than Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell and Arizona Cardinals defensive end Chandler Jones.
It is safe to say that any team in the NFL would love to add one, if not all, of these guys if possible, and several teams may get a shot to do so this summer, but it is very doubtful. The odds of any of these three players making it into the open market and changing teams before the 2017 NFL season is slim, but not impossible.
According to a Fansided report, fans in the Steel City are very concerned about the possibility of their star running back Le’Veon Bell leaving town this off season. They shouldn’t have to worry though because the odds of the Steelers’ brass not tagging Bell are slim to none, unless they feel they would be paying him too much money and don’t want to take a chance with his recent run-ins with injuries. Even though Bell missed four games in 2016, he still managed to rush for nearly 1,300 yards and scored nine touchdowns.
Pittsburgh, like all of the teams in the NFL, has until March 1 to place their franchise tag on Bell or take the chance that he may sign with another team. If tagged, Bell would make an estimated $12 million in 2017.
Two other stars that could possibly be donning a new uniform in 2017 are Washington Redskins’ QB Kirk Cousins and St. Louis Cardinals’ DE Chandler Jones. Both are in their prime and getting better with each season, but will they really hit they open market?
Cousins threw for nearly 5,000 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2016. He also seems to be getting a much better read on defenses. Because Cousins faces the NFC East opponents twice a season every season, he has had to face some of the toughest defenses in the NFL. It would be hard to believe that the Redskins wouldn’t tag the 28 year-old former Michigan State Spartan, but crazier things have happened.
Chandler Jones would make any defense instantly better, which is more the reason one has to believe that the Cardinals will tag him this week.
This guy is a beast, period. The former New England Patriot shined in his first season with the Cardinals, recording 38 solo tackles, 11 assists and 11 quarterback sacks. The defensive end/linebacker will likely be tagged by the Cardinals by mid week, but if the Cards can’t work out a long term deal during the next season and Jones has another productive season in 2017, he will most likely hit the free-agency road in 2018 in search of a huge pay day.
The Cardinals have used the franchise tag nine times in team history, but they haven’t had to use it since 2012. Arizona used it back then on defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who eventually signed a long-term deal later that spring with the Cardinals.
It is going to be an interesting summer, and the fun is just beginning!
[Featured Image by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images]