Ten players comprised this year’s franchise tag contingent — down from 14 in 2020. However, the Broncos, Cowboys and Giants reached extension agreements with their tagged players — Justin Simmons, Dak Prescott and Leonard Williams, respectively — to leave seven tag recipients unsigned entering July.
With the July 15 deadline to extend franchise-tagged players less than two weeks away, here is where things stand with the remaining members of the group:
WR Chris Godwin, Buccaneers
Rather than tag Shaquil Barrett for a second straight year, the Bucs cuffed Godwin at $15.9MM. The defending Super Bowl champions found room for Barrett and every other notable free agent they had this offseason, going into overdrive in their effort to defend their second championship. Like every other franchise-tagged player this year, Godwin has signed his tender. The former third-round pick has said he wants to stay in Tampa long-term. The Bucs have Mike Evans signed to a now-below-market deal ($16.5MM per year), so it will be interesting to see how they navigate negotiations with his less accomplished (but three years younger, at 25) sidekick.
S Marcus Maye, Jets
Tagged months after the Jets traded Jamal Adams, Maye has not exactly enjoyed a smooth negotiating process. Just before the Jets tagged Maye, his agent slammed the team for a lackluster effort to extend the four-year starter beforehand. The Jets have carried on negotiations since applying the tag and are believed to have been steadfast in this approach, but this has not necessarily translated to progress. These talks are expected to go down to the wire. Maye, 28, not signing an extension by July 15 would keep the Mike Maccagnan-era draft choice on the $10.6MM tag.
OT Taylor Moton, Panthers
While the Panthers’ left tackle position has been one of the toughest to fill over the past decade, Moton has locked down the team’s right tackle post. A 2017 second-round pick, Moton has not missed a game since debuting in Carolina’s lineup in Week 1 of the 2018 season. The Panthers have a new regime in place, but the Matt Rhule–Scott Fitterer duo hopes to extend Moton.
The right tackle market moved this week, with Ryan Ramczyk agreeing to a $19.2MM-per-year extension. Moton, 26, is not a candidate to top that, but he may be primed to fill the gap between the top tier (Ramczyk and $18MM-AAV Lane Johnson) and Jack Conklin‘s $14MM-AAV deal. Moton is attached to a $13.8MM franchise tender.
WR Allen Robinson, Bears
Tagged at a higher price ($17.98MM) than Godwin because of his previous contract, Robinson has been the Bears’ No. 1 option on offense for the past three years. This has not translated to harmony between he and the team. Robinson has expressed frustration with the Bears’ tactics during his lengthy extension talks, which date back to last year, and he at one point surfaced in trade rumors.
This will be the eighth-year veteran’s age-28 season. A long-term Robinson deal would pair well with Justin Fields‘ rookie contract, with no other Bears receiver making even midlevel money, but the former third-round pick did not sound especially confident a deal will be finalized by the deadline.
OT Cam Robinson, Jaguars
This might be the closest to a “prove it” tag in this year’s lot. The former second-round pick has recovered from the ACL tear that cost him 14 games in 2018, starting 30 over the past two seasons. But Robinson, 25, has yet to show he is among the better players at the left tackle position. Without a viable replacement lined up, the Jaguars tagged the Alabama alum at $13.8MM. It would make sense for the Urban Meyer regime to gauge Robinson’s contract-year performance and reassess the matter next year. Holding the most cap space in the NFL ($38MM), the Jags can afford to carry Robinson’s tag figure this season.
G Brandon Scherff, Washington
Washington and its top offensive lineman have been at this for a while. A 2015 first-round pick, Scherff has been eligible for an extension since the 2017 season ended. Instead, Washington has seen another tag situation near the point of no return. The four-time Pro Bowl guard has played on the fifth-year option and the franchise tag, pushing this year’s tag price to $18MM. A third tag is unrealistic, as the Kirk Cousins standoff showed, and no deal this month would push Scherff toward free agency in 2022. The team wants to extend the 29-year-old blocker, but it will almost certainly take a guard-record agreement to do so. Joe Thuney raised the position’s ceiling with a $16MM-AAV deal in March.
S Marcus Williams, Saints
The Saints’ salary cap tightrope walk included a $10.6MM Williams tag, completing an odyssey that began with the team $100MM-plus over this year’s reduced cap. With New Orleans already doing the rare fifth-year option restructure with Marshon Lattimore, a Williams extension would be the easiest way to create more cap room. The team checked the top item off its offeseason to-do list, the Ramcyzk extension, but it may well have either a Lattimore or Williams re-up in its near-future plans.
Part of New Orleans’ impact 2017 draft class, the 24-year-old safety has been a starter from Day 1. Even though Lattimore may be a higher extension priority, the team coming all the way back from $100MM over the cap to use a franchise tag illustrates its view of Williams’ work.
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