Agent’s Take: Davante Adams tops 11 franchise tag candidates for 2022; projected tag wage at every place

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Franchise tags numbers decreased by almost 9 p.c throughout the board with the wage cap dropping from $198.2 million in 2020 to $182.5 million this yr, as league revenues declined as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. Collectively, the franchise tag numbers have been on par with 2017 ranges. The numbers are going to bounce again in massive approach with the wage cap projected to be on the $208.2 million ceiling that the NFL and NFLPA agreed to in Might.

A take a look at how franchise tags work is beneath. The projected 2022 franchise numbers and an examination of the most effective candidates to obtain the designations subsequent yr follows.

Franchise tags logistics

NFL groups can retain the rights to certainly one of their impending free brokers in 2022 with using a non-exclusive or an unique franchise tag throughout a 15 day interval from Feb. 22 to March 8.

How franchise tenders are calculated is misunderstood. Previous to the 2011 Collective Bargaining Settlement, non-exclusive franchise tags had been a median of the 5 largest salaries within the prior yr at a participant’s place or 120% of the prior yr’s wage of the participant, whichever was better. For franchise tag functions, wage means a participant’s wage cap quantity, excluding exercise bonuses and most different efficiency bonuses.

The 120% and 5 largest salaries provisions have remained intact, however the formulation part is now calculated over a 5 yr interval that is tied to a proportion of the general wage cap. Extra particularly, the quantity for every place is set by taking the sum of the non-exclusive franchise tags as decided by the unique methodology for the earlier 5 seasons and dividing by the sum of the particular NFL wage cap quantity for the earlier 5 seasons. The ensuing proportion, which is named the Cap Proportion Common within the CBA, is then multiplied by the precise wage cap for the upcoming league yr.

This non-exclusive tag permits a participant to barter with different NFL groups, but when he indicators a proposal sheet with one other membership, his workforce has 5 days to match the provide. If the provide is just not matched, his workforce will obtain two first spherical picks as compensation from the signing workforce.

Below the unique franchise tag, a participant will obtain a one yr provide from his workforce that’s the better of the common of the highest 5 salaries at his place as soon as the restricted free agent signing interval of the present league yr has ended (April 22 for 2022) or 120% of his prior yr’s wage. The non-exclusive quantity is initially used as placeholder and adjusted upwards if the unique calculation dictates as soon as restricted free company ends. A participant can’t negotiate with different groups with the unique franchise tag.

The transition tag has been used with so much much less frequency than the franchise tag. It’s based mostly on the common of the highest 10 salaries at a participant’s place utilizing the identical methodology as non-exclusive franchise tag calculations. The 120% provision additionally applies. Groups have the identical proper of first refusal as with franchise tags however don’t obtain any draft alternative compensation for declining to match a proposal sheet.

2022 tag projections

The chart beneath comprises an early take a look at the 2022 franchise tags. I preserve observe of the wage knowledge essential to do the calculations underneath the franchise and transition tag formulation. I lately confirmed with my NFL sources the 2021 knowledge getting into the formulation. The tag numbers are based mostly on a $208.2 million wage cap in 2022.

Cornerback

$15,060,000

$17,287,000

14.79%

Defensive finish

$16,069,000

$17,859,000

11.14%

Defensive sort out

$13,888,000

$17,396,000

15.26%

Linebacker

$14,791,000

$18,702,000

26.44%

Offensive line

$13,754,000

$16,662,000

21.14%

Punter/kicker

$4,482,000

$5,220,000

16.47%

Quarterback

$25,104,000

$29,703,000

18.32%

Working again

$8,655,000

$9,570,000

10.57%

Security

$10,612,000

$12,911,000

21.66%

Tight finish

$9,601,000

$10,931,000

13.85%

Large receiver

$15,983,000

$18,419,000

15.24%

Notice: Projections assume 2022 wage cap is $208.2 million.

Prime 2022 candidates

By CBA rule, the gamers at present underneath a one-year franchise tag, like Washington Soccer Workforce offensive guard Brandon Scherff, are prohibited from signing long-term till the common season ends on Jan. 9. Scherff will not be franchised for a 3rd consecutive yr in 2022. The procedures outlined within the CBA dictate that Scherff’s third tag is the better of 144% of his second franchise designation of $18.036 million or the biggest quantity at any place, which is $29.703 million for quarterbacks.

Buccaneers large receiver Chris Godwin and Jets security Marcus Maye, each 2021 franchise tag recipients, will not get a designation for a second straight time due to severe accidents. Godwin tore the ACL and MCL in his proper knee a few weeks in the past. Maye ruptured his proper Achilles in a Week 9 sport towards the Colts.

Neither will Bears large receiver Allen Robinson. His manufacturing this season would not justify a $21.556 million tag. Robinson has 32 catches for 353 yards with one landing in 10 video games primarily due to an absence of chemistry with rookie quarterback Justin Fields.

Franchise tags shall be too price prohibitive for the Cardinals and Chiefs with outdoors linebacker Chandler Jones and security Tyrann Mathieu due to the 120% of prior yr’s wage provisions. Jones’ tag quantity shall be $25 million. Will probably be $23.63 million with Mathieu. The Saints are precluded from designating offensive sort out Terron Armstead as a result of his 2021 contract yr would not void till final day of the 2021 league yr on March 16, which is after the designation window has closed.

Negotiations for a brand new deal have not been very productive. The Packers have refused make Davante Adams the NFL’s highest paid large receiver forward of DeAndre Hopkins, who signed a two-year contract extension with the Cardinals through the 2020 preseason averaging $27.25 million per yr. Adams could make a compelling case he needs to be the very best paid due to his sustained excellence. Because the begin of the 2018 common season, Adams leads the NFL with 415 receptions, 5,119 receiving yards and 46 landing catches. The Packers haven’t got an amazing observe file in giving large receivers a 3rd contract.

A non-exclusive franchise tag for Adams shall be $20.12 million. Will probably be based mostly off a 20% improve of his 2021 wage. Some wage cap gymnastics shall be required to accommodate an Adams franchise tag. Inexperienced Bay’s $247.882 million in 2022 cap commitments are the NFL’s second most in accordance with NFLPA knowledge. 44 gamers are underneath contract whereas the highest 51 salaries (i.e.; cap numbers) matter with offseason wage cap accounting guidelines.

J.C. Jackson is placing to relaxation any questions on whether or not he might assume primary cornerback duties in New England raised by Stephon Gilmore’s early season departure to the Panthers in a commerce. The 2018 undrafted free agent, who’s enjoying underneath a $3.384 million restricted free agent tender, was named November’s AFC Defensive Participant of the Month. Jackson was simply named to his first Professional Bowl. He shall be an AFC starter.

Jackson is arguably the NFL’s premier ballhawk. He’s second in league this season with seven interceptions. Jackson has the NFL’s most interceptions because the begin of the 2019 season with 21. His 21 passes defensed are tied for probably the most this season. A cornerback in his prime with a whole ability set, like Jackson, shall be a sizzling commodity in free company, if he will get to market.

The Chiefs cannot danger Orlando Brown being a one-year rental by turning into a free agent given the draft capital required to acquire him from the Ravens. Brown pressured a commerce as a result of he needed to be a left sort out, which wasn’t potential in Baltimore due to All-Professional Ronnie Stanley. The Chiefs gave up their 2021 first spherical choose (thirty first general), a 2021 third spherical choose (94th general), a 2021 fourth choose (136th general) and a 2022 fifth spherical choice to the Ravens for Brown, a 2021 second spherical choose (58th general) and a 2022 sixth spherical choose.

Brown’s Professional Bowl choice validates his transfer from proper sort out to left sort out. The Chiefs are doubtless going to hitch the ranks of groups paying a premium financially when a long run deal for a participant who had remaining time on his contract is not performed in reference to a commerce involving important draft capital. Any long-term deal will certainly put him within the $20 million per yr offensive lineman membership, which at present has three members. Left tackles Trent Williams, David Bakhtiari and Laremy Tunsil have offers with the 49ers, Packers and Texans averaging $23.01 million, $23 million and $22 million per yr respectively.

Mike Williams began the season like gangbusters with 22 receptions for 295 yards with 4 touchdowns within the first three video games. He hasn’t been capable of maintain that tempo however is having a profession yr. Williams had 64 receptions (a profession excessive) for 964 yards with seven touchdowns in 14 video games earlier than touchdown on the COVID-19 listing. A franchise tag is a risk due to the Chargers‘ cap state of affairs. The Chargers have the NFL’s second fewest 2022 cap commitments with $145.81 million though solely 34 gamers are underneath contract. It is going to price the Chargers $18.816 million to designate Williams as a franchise participant, which is a 20% p.c increase over his present $15.68 million fifth yr possibility.

Marcus Williams was a shock recipient of a $10.612 million franchise tag as a result of Saints wanted to shed roughly $110 million of economic commitments simply to be cap compliant when the 2021 league yr began on March 17. By technique of elimination, Williams is the Saints’ solely reputable franchise tag possibility. The construction of Armstead’s contract prevents him from being franchised. Ryan Ramczyk was given a $19 million per yr extension setting the proper sort out market and Marshon Lattimore’s $19.4 million per yr extension made him the NFL’s third highest paid cornerback.

A second franchise tag for Williams shall be one of many few cases the place the 20% increase provision would not apply. 120% of Williams’ present tag is $12,734,400 whereas the Cap Proportion Common tasks to $12.911 million.

The Saints are in nice form cap smart for 2022 in comparison with this time final yr. There is a league main $259.45 million in 2022 cap commitments with 40 gamers underneath contract and a minimal quantity of unused cap room to be carried over (lower than $500,000).

Williams most likely expects to be handled like Lattimore and Ramcyzk relative to their positional markets. Jamal Adams, Harrison Smith and Justin Simmons are the league’s three highest paid safeties with $17.5 million, $16 million and $15.25 million per yr offers with the Seahawks, Vikings and Broncos respectively.

Odds are Dalton Schultz will get his freedom due to Dallas’ cap points. The Cowboys have just below $223 million in 2022 cap commitments with 44 gamers underneath contract and a bit of greater than $4 million of cap house that may be carried over to subsequent yr.

Schultz is proving his 2020 marketing campaign during which had 63 receptions for 615 yards and 4 touchdowns in his first in depth enjoying time wasn’t a fluke. He has already exceeded these numbers this season. Schultz ranks third amongst tight ends with 69 receptions, sixth with 733 receiving yards and tied for sixth with six receiving touchdowns. Surprisingly, Schultz is fifth amongst tight ends with 316 yards after catch.

Schultz needs to be the beneficiary of the dramatic leap within the tight finish market since 2020 free company started. There weren’t any tight ends making over $10 million per yr when the 2019 season ended. Now there are seven. Among the many seven are Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith, who acquired $12.5 million per yr offers from the Patriots on this yr’s free company. The Patriots duo’s mixed manufacturing of 69 receptions and 754 receiving yards is similar to Schultz’s this season.

Harold Landry is producing the best way Bud Dupree needs to be, given his contract. The 2018 second-round choose is tied for ninth within the NFL with a career-high 11 sacks. It has been a irritating yr for Dupree, who signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract (value as much as $85 million by means of incentives) with $35 million of ensures on this yr’s free company. He’s at present on the COVID-19 listing after lacking three video games with an stomach harm and three others early within the season associated to the torn proper ACL he suffered final December enjoying for the Steelers. Dupree has three sacks this season, however two in his final two video games.

The Titans retaining Landry might be a tough proposition with out a franchise tag due to the Dupree dynamic. Landry can be justified in insisting on greater than Dupree to stay in Nashville given how issues have unfolded between the 2 this season. Utilizing the designation on Landry might be problematic due to $199.3 million in 2022 cap commitments with 37 gamers underneath contract and simply $3.212 million of cap room that be carried over to subsequent yr.

The most secure approach for the Dolphins to make sure Mike Geiscki’s companies subsequent season is to franchise him given they’re in nice form with the wage cap. Miami’s $134.72 million of cap commitments are the NFL’s fewest for 2022. Thirty-seven gamers are underneath contract subsequent yr. Similar to with Schultz, these $12.5 million per yr offers Henry and Smith received needs to be essential wage benchmarks for Geiscki. He has 67 catches for 707 yards with two touchdowns in 15 video games this season. The receptions and receiving yards are profession highs. Gesicki is without doubt one of the league’s higher vertical threats at tight finish. His 12 receptions going for 20 yards or extra are tied for sixth amongst tight ends this season.

Jessie Bates expressed frustration about his contract negotiations throughout a coaching camp interview with the native Cincinnati media. Previous to venting publicly, Bates indicated he needed to be in Cincinnati long-term. Bates admitted his contract standing affected his play early within the season. General, 2021 hasn’t been as much as the usual Bates set final season when he earned second workforce All-Professional honors. Nonetheless, he’ll nonetheless doubtless need greater than the four-year, $61 million contract with $35 million in ensures the Broncos gave Simmons, who was franchised, to prime the protection market earlier than a reset by Adams along with his four-year, $70 million extension value as much as $72 million by means of incentives and wage escalators from the Seahawks.

The Bengals have a reasonably good observe file of conserving core homegrown expertise round. The wage cap will not be an obstacle to the 24-year outdated being with the Bengals in 2022. Cincinnati has just below $156.2 million in 2022 cap commitments with 37 gamers underneath contract whereas there’s barely over $6.3 million of current cap room that may be utilized to subsequent yr.

Carlton Davis‘ presence within the Buccaneers secondary was sorely missed through the seven video games he was sidelined with a quadriceps harm. Godwin’s knee harm eliminates the necessity for the Buccaneers to decide on which participant to offer the franchise designation. 25-year outdated cornerbacks with prime flight protection potential hardly ever hit the open market.

Quandre Diggs‘ wage expectations on a long-term deal are most likely greater than Seattle desires to pay after two straight Professional Bowl picks and Adams resetting the protection market. Since making his Seahawks debut in Week 10 of the 2019 season a few weeks after being traded from the Lions, his 13 interceptions are probably the most within the NFL amongst safeties. Outdoors of future Corridor of Fame linebacker Bobby Wagner, Diggs has most likely been probably the most constant defensive participant throughout his two and half season tenure in Seattle. 

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