Exclusive QB Franchise Tag Projected To Eclipse $45MM

When the Cowboys placed the exclusive franchise tag on Dak Prescott in 2020, it cost them $31.4MM. If/when the Ravens proceed down this path with Lamar Jackson next year, it will be considerably more expensive.

Although teams have not received projections on next year’s cap yet, the NFL’s 2023 salary ceiling is on track to come in north of $220MM. That will bump the exclusive quarterback tag north of $45MM. Noting a handful of teams are using a $225MM projection for next year’s cap, CBS Sports’ Joel Corry pegs the exclusive QB tag at $45.25MM. No player has ever gone through a season attached to a cap number north of $45MM. Jackson and the Browns’ Deshaun Watson — as of now set to count $54.9MM on Cleveland’s 2023 payroll — would be poised to be the first.

Here are the projected non-exclusive franchise tag amounts for 2023, according to Corry:

  • Quarterback: $32.45MM
  • Running back: $10.1MM
  • Wide receiver: $19.76MM
  • Tight end: $11.36MM
  • Offensive line: $18.26MM
  • Defensive end: $19.74MM
  • Defensive tackle: $18.95MM
  • Linebacker: $20.95MM
  • Cornerback: $18.16MM
  • Safety: $14.47MM
  • Kicker/punter: $5.39MM

An exclusive tag prevents other teams from negotiating with the tagged player. Were the Ravens to place the non-exclusive tag on Jackson, other teams could come in with offer sheets and attempt to pry the former MVP away. Of course, it would cost the signing team two first-rounders if the Ravens passed on matching a Jackson offer sheet after a five-day period.

While the non-exclusive quarterback tag is set to rise past $30MM, the other number that jumps out here is the running back price. That will be a viable fallback option for teams like the Giants (Saquon Barkley) and Raiders (Josh Jacobs). While Barkley is playing out his fifth-year option, the Raiders passed on an $8MM Jacobs 2023 salary. The NFL’s rushing leader, Jacobs will certainly enter 2023 as a tag candidate. The Giants had negotiated with Barkley during their bye week this year, but the sides were not believed to be close on terms. With the team hoping to keep the former No. 2 overall pick, it seems likely — even with Daniel Jones unsigned as well — this low-cost tag will be utilized.

These prices also do not apply to Jessie Bates, Orlando Brown Jr., Dalton Schultz and Mike Gesicki. Should any of these players be tagged again, their tag figures would be 120% of their 2022 salaries. Players who are not attached to rookie contracts could also be tied to higher tag figures in 2023. Both Allen Robinson and A.J. Green collected more on the tag than their wideout peers in recent years, due to 120% of their previous year’s salary being worth more than the tag price. This scenario would be in play again if teams were keen on keeping certain vets off the market.

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