Welcome to deadline day for franchise-tagged players.
The seven players slapped with the franchise tender in 2021, who have yet to come to terms on multi-year deals, have until 4 p.m. ET to ink long-term pacts. Otherwise, they’ll play on the one-year contracts.
Chicago Bears receiver Allen Robinson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers receiver Chris Godwin, New York Jets safety Marcus Maye, New Orleans Saints safety Marcus Williams, Carolina Panthers tackle Taylor Moton, Jacksonville Jaguars tackle Cam Robinson, and Washington Football Team guard Brandon Scherff are the seven players franchise tagged.
Deadlines spur actions, but no long-term deals are expected to get done at this point in the game.
If today’s deadline passes without any surprises, sides can’t negotiate on a long-term deal until after the 2021 season ends.
All seven players signed their franchise tenders, so each is anticipated to attend training camp later this month. Because they’ve signed the one-year tags, they are eligible to be traded.
Let’s run down each tagged player quickly:
Allen Robinson, WR, Bears: Set to make $17.98 million. Robinson has done everything shy of begging to let it be known he’d want to stay in Chicago long-term. Yet, for whatever reason, the Bears brass has been reluctant to pay its best offensive player, who has carried Matt Nagy’s O the past two years despite subpar QB play. One of the best WRs in the NFL, Robinson deserves his big payday, whether in Chicago or elsewhere next year.
Chris Godwin, WR, Bucs: Set to make $15.983 million. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that while sides likely won’t get a deal done, Tampa wants to retain its vital wideout long-term. One of the best rising young receivers in the NFL, Godwin is key to everything the Bucs offense does. He can play anywhere, wins off the line, and is among the best route-runners in the game. Tampa GM Jason Licht knows that if he doesn’t pay Godwin in 2022, someone surely will unload the coffers to do so.
Marcus Maye, S, Jets: Set to earn $10.612 million. The Jets’ best defensive player last season was set to cash in on the open market this offseason before the Jets slapped him with the franchise tag, Rapoport reported. Since then, it appears the situation has soured. Maye’s latest proposal went without a response from the Jets, and the parties are “not in a good place,” per Rapoport. It’s very Jets to alienate their best secondary player on a razor-thin unit that was young and dreadful outside of him last year. Let’s hope in the next seven months, healing can happen to keep Maye in N.Y.
Marcus Williams, S, Saints: Set to earn $10.612 million. It was a surprise when the salary-cap strapped Saints could tag Williams, which underscores both the gymnastics New Orleans’ front office is capable of and how low the tag is for safeties. Eight safeties earn at least $11.25 million per year, with newly signed Justin Simmons sitting atop at $15.25 million per. So Williams can wait out the market this year, hoping Tyrann Mathieu or others get new deals that push a stagnant safety market upwards and help him get a bigger deal in free agency.
Taylor Moton, OT, Panthers: Set to earn $13.754 million. The best player on a Carolina O-line full of questions, Moton owns a boatload of leverage. He grew into one of the better right tackles in the game and the most consistent blocker on Matt Rhule’s line last year. The Saints’ Ryan Ramczyk just reset the RT market — $19.2 million per year. Moton isn’t on that level as a player yet, but his leverage could push him into a massive payday come next offseason.
Cam Robinson, OT, Jaguars: Set to make $13.754 million. Robinson was the biggest surprise tag, as the Jags wanted to ensure OT wasn’t another huge need heading into the draft. Robinson hasn’t been among the top LTs in any of his four seasons in Jacksonville. His 40 pressures allowed were eighth-most among all tackles last season. The Jags also drafted his likely eventual replacement, Walker Little, in the second round. Despite career struggles, given the dearth of options at tackle around the NFL, Robinson is still likely to cash in on the open market next year.
Brandon Scherff, G, Washington: Set to make $18.036 million. It’s the second straight franchise tag for the All-Pro guard. With a third tag estimated at nearly $26 million (44 percent raise on his 2021 tender), Scherff is assuredly going to be a free agent next year unless Washington gives him a massive deal before the market opens. Joe Thuney’s $16 million-per-year deal from K.C. would likely be the starting point in any discussion — which partly explains why no long-term solution has been found in Washington.
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