• Matthew Turner

Detroit Lions 2021 Franchise Tag Candidates

It's the offseason, and the franchise tag period is fast approaching. Detroit will need to make a decision soon if they wish to use it. What is it? How much is it? When can this be used? Why would they use it? Who might Detroit use it on? What The franchise tag is a designation a team can apply to a player on their team who is becoming an unrestricted free agent. It binds the player to a team if certain conditions are met. There are different forms of franchise tag (exclusive or non-exclusive) and there is also a "transition tag". Only one of any of these may be used in any one season. The designated franchise player will have his one-year salary guaranteed if he signs the tag and does not negotiate with another team. Under the exclusive franchise tag, a player cannot negotiate with another team. Under the non-exclusive franchise tag, a player can sign a deal with another team, but the team doing the tagging has first refusal to match the offer to retain the player, or they will receive two first-round picks in compensation. Under the transition tag, the salary paid is lower, but a player can negotiate with other teams. If he agrees to a deal elsewhere, the tagging team has first refusal to match that deal to retain the player on the same terms. How much is it? The tag values are determined with reference to the salaries paid in previous years. The exclusive franchise tag is the average of the top 5 2020 salaries at that position. The non-exclusive franchise tag is the average of the top 5 salaries over the past 5 years at that position. The transition tag is the average of the top 10 2020 salaries at that position. Consecutive franchise tags can be used on the same player, but the salaries paid are more expensive, with the 2nd tag at 120% of the value of the 1st, and the 3rd tag at 144% (120% of 120%) or an average of the top 5 salaries at the highest-paid position. Per overthecap.com, these are the projected Franchise and Transition Tag values: Position Franchise Tag Transition Tag QB $24,112,000 $21,749,000 DE $17,752,000 $14,811,000 WR $16,430,000 $14,269,000 LB $15,657,000 $13,406,000 CB $15,266,000 $13,202,000 OL $14,507,000 $13,156,000 DT $14,178,000 $11,405,000 S $11,196,000 $9,550,000 RB $11,112,000 $8,942,000 TE $10,167,000 $8,576,000 ST $4,792,000 $4,382,000 When is this used? For 2020, the tagging window is between February 23 and March 9. Teams then have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal with these players instead of playing under the tag for the season. Why (or why not) use it? The tag is often used to retain a high-end player that they have failed to sign to a long term deal but want to retain. It allows for quality players with long-term risk to only pay them for one year. It provides a period of time for the player to sign a long term deal before the franchising period ends if teams believe they will get it done, they just need more time.

Players historically have disliked playing on the tag, since although it provides one year of elite money, it hurts their ability to get a highly-priced long-term deal as they get older and doesn't provide security in the event of a long-term injury affecting the rest of their career. Detroit Lions tag candidates Detroit's unrestricted free agents are:- Marvin Jones Danny Amendola Mohamed Sanu Kenny Golladay Jamal Agnew Oday Aboushi Duron Harmon Miles Killebrew Jalen Reeves-Maybin Don Muhlbach Matt Prater Jarrad Davis Reggie Ragland Everson Griffen Romeo Okwara Darryl Roberts Tony McRae When looking at whether the tag is going to be useful, you should consider whether the team actually wants the player to return, and the market value of the player, whether it is comparable (or less than) the perceived open market value. This is why Danny Amendola is never getting tagged - aside from whether the team want him to return, his roughly $4.5m deal for 2020 pales in comparison to the $16.43m estimated franchise tag amount. The two players who the team may want to return and whose market value is at least close to the tag value are: Kenny Golladay (market value $17m) Romeo Okwara (market value $10.1m) Looking at market value, I refer to sportrac.com's market value calculator as an outside source. Will Detroit use it on either of these players? For Kenny, not a lot is known at the moment. He is not being a separation receiver but a contested catcher, and whether he is a receiver that Goff can make the best use of is a source of great debate amongst Lions fans. The tag value is under his market value, which to my mind makes him a likely tag candidate, even if it is just to trade him away under the tag for draft picks (which is likely to be in the region of a 4th and a 7th if they can do it, which was the value of Jarvis Landry's trade from Miami to Cleveland). In this instance, because the salary is fully-guaranteed, Detroit takes the full cap hit, essentially paying money for picks. Letting Kenny walk would increase the likelihood that Detroit gets compensatory picks in 2022, however, Detroit has many holes to fill, some through free agency so this remains to be seen. You can see that Romeo's value is almost $8m less than the estimated tag for DE's. However, it would give the team time to work out a long term deal, OR if the team believes his breakout year may be a flash in the pan, it works out as an expensive one-year "prove-it again" deal before a long term deal in 2022. I believe that this is unlikely and that he will end up signing a long-term deal to stay in Detroit. What do you think will happen with the tag? Like what you read? Follow us Twitter: www.twitter.com/rotl_uk Instagram: www.instagram.com/rotl.uk Pod Links: linktr.ee/roarofthelionsuk Follow me Twitter: www.twitter.com/MTurnerNFL Instagram: www.instagram.com/matamaticus

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