Today, we hit one of the most important days of the offseason, as it is the first day teams can designate Franchise or Transition players.
Do you know where your taggable players are?
You can read about the three types of tags (Exclusive Franchise, Non-Exclusive Franchise, and Transition) and how they work in a detailed, well-sourced post from Michael as a refresher.
For more background with regards to the franchise tag and Alshon Jeffery, this post provides background on Jeffery’s pending free agency and the option the Bears hold , while this piece focuses on how pricey the decision will be for the Bears one way or another.
The deadline for teams to designate Franchise or Transition players is March 1 at 3 p.m.
Some more on the franchise tag situation with the Bears, and throughout the league …
- With the two-week window open, Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times writes it is time for the Bears to make a decision on Jeffery’s future. It is a complex situation, to say the least. Much hasn’t changed since Jeffery was tagged in 2016 as he was still moderately productive despite missing games. He took a step back with five drops in 12 games as he struggled to find a rhythm with the Bears’ three-headed quarterback monster, but still was the team’s most talented pass-catching option when on the field.
- Gregg Rosenthal of NFL Network predicts every team’s potential franchise tag situation, and perhaps surprisingly, Jeffery isn’t in the no-brainer category. In fact, Rosenthal calls it a coin flip that would land on the “no” side of getting the tag. Even though the Bears are in win-now mode entering the third year of the Ryan Pace-John Fox regime, Rosenthal predicts Jeffery will get the long-term contract he seeks elsewhere.
- For what it’s worth, one betting site has a return to the Bears as the second most-likely scenario for Jeffery’s future, with the favorite being Jeffery signs with a team that isn’t the Bears, Dolphins, Eagles, Titans, 49ers, or Ravens.
- Of course, Jeffery isn’t the only player to watch closely during the franchise tag period. Rosenthal has a handful of names who are “no brainers” to get the tag. Safety Eric Berry (Chiefs), quarterback Kirk Cousins (Redskins), running back Le’Veon Bell (Steelers), defensive end/outside linebacker Chandler Jones (Cardinals) will most certainly be tagged unless long-term extensions are handed out before free agency. For a player like Jones, he will likely be tagged with the goal of getting a multi-year deal done with the franchise tag number as a guide.
- Pro Football Weekly chimes in with a list of 12 players who could get tagged between now and March 1. Among the names not listed among Rosenthal’s top four are Panthers defensive tackle Kawann Short, Patriots linebacker Dont’a Hightower, Chargers edge rusher Melvin Ingram, Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore (who could be a possibility for the Bears), Ravens nose tackle Brandon Williams, and a pair of offensive linemen – Packers guard T.J. Lang and Bengals tackle Andrew Whitworth, who at 35, is the oldest player on the list. Some of these are long shots, but all are worth keeping an eye on to see how other front offices are valuing their own players.
- The most notable thing about PFW’s list is that it features Chiefs defensive tackle Dontari Poe and not safety Eric Berry. Remember, teams can designate only one franchise player per season, so Kansas City has a major decision to make between one of the best defensive linemen in football and one of the best secondary players in the game. It goes without saying that, if Berry reached free agency, the Bears would have serious interest, given their available dollars and significant secondary needs.