I’m not the type to dismiss things out of hand just because they’re highly unlikely, but I feel pretty strongly that the Bears will not hand out the Franchise (or Transition) tag to retain safety Adrian Amos or slot cornerback Bryce Callahan this offseason.
Of course, that matters because NFL teams can start tagging players today and have until March 5 to make a declaration. And while the official tenders for the Franchise and Transition tags won’t be released until March, OverTheCap.com has a projected look that gives us an idea of what the cost of doing business on the tag will look like in 2019.
- Quarterback: $25.578 million
- Running back: $11.98 million
- Wide receiver: $17.101 million
- Tight end: $10.93 million
- Offensive line: $15.283 million
- Defensive end: $18.653 million
- Defensive tackle: $15.571 million
- Linebacker: $15.777 million
- Cornerback: $15.992 million
- Safety: $12.037 million
- Kicker/punter: $5.162 million
- Quarterback: $23.356 million
- Running back: $9.124 million
- Wide receiver: $14.738 million
- Tight end: $9.124 million
- Offensive line: $13.717 million
- Defensive end: $15.735 million
- Defensive tackle: $12.287 million
- Linebacker: $13.627 million
- Cornerback: $13.891 million
- Safety: $10.268 million
- Kicker/punter: $4.712 million
I’m going to take a wild guess and say the tag numbers Bears care most about here are probably cornerback, safety, and kicker (especially since Robbie Gould and Stephen Gostkowski figure to get tagged in some fashion).
As you can tell, the Franchise tag number is more than what either Callahan or Amos has been projected to receive in free agency and well north of what the team currently has in available cap space. So while I guess the Bears could tag either player, then get under the cap before the new league year begins, it’s highly unlikely the team would travel down that path.
League insiders Gregg Rosenthal (NFL.com), Connor Orr (SI.com’s The MMQB), and Mike Florio (Pro Football Talk) did not believe the Bears would issue the tag to any of their out-going free agents. Rosenthal was the only one who budged a bit and included Callahan in his “no projected tag” category because he doesn’t think it’s all that wild if the Bears’ nickel corner received a “sneaky-huge” deal as a free agent. Slot corners are starters now and Callahan played on 81 percent of the defensive snaps before suffering his season-ending injury. Starting cornerbacks tend to get paid in the NFL. But after a(nother) injury-shortened year, that seems unlikely.