Jets Expected To Use Franchise Tag On Marcus Maye

Multiple league sources recently told Ralph Vacchiano of SNY.tv that they expect the Jets to hit safety Marcus Maye with the franchise tag. Teams have until March 9 to deploy the franchise and transition tags.

With the 2021 salary cap expected to fall between $180MM-$185MM, the franchise tag value for safeties will check in between $10MM-$11MM. That’s not an outrageous sum for a young and talented player like Maye, especially since New York has a ton of salary cap space but not many quality defensive players. And, although most impending free agents do not like being designated as a franchise player, the tag could benefit Maye this year.

The Florida product has played well throughout his first four seasons in the league, and he saved his best performance for his platform campaign. In 2020, his first year without former running mate Jamal Adams, Maye set career-highs in tackles (88), passes defensed (11), and sacks (2). He also intercepted two passes and graded out as the fifth-best safety in the game per Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics, which were especially fond of his coverage ability.

Nonetheless, several sources tell Vacchiano that Maye is not viewed as a top-tier safety just yet, and since the big money in this year’s free agent cycle might not trickle down past the top tier of talent due to the depressed salary cap, players like Maye may need to settle for one-year pacts in the hopes of a landing a lucrative long-term contract in 2022. Vacchiano says the soon-to-be 28-year-old will be eyeing a top-of-the-market deal (meaning an AAV of $14MM+), but he might have a hard time getting that type of money this year, so a $10MM-$11MM tag wouldn’t be a bad consolation prize.

For what it’s worth, Rich Cimini of ESPN.com said back in November that Maye was eying a $7MM/year contract, though Maye surely values himself more highly than that at this point and would likely prefer to play out the season on the franchise tag rather than settle for a multi-year pact with a $7MM AAV (even if it came with a fair amount of guaranteed money).

As of now, there is no indication that Maye and the Jets are anywhere close to a long-term contract, but the franchise tag would buy them a few more months to find some middle ground in that regard.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

View Comments (5)