NFL Franchise Tag: Who could (or should) be tagged and traded

The NFL franchise tag was installed as a method to help teams gain flexibility in how they handle star players on their roster.

There are many methods to its use. Sometimes it can be a one-year extension to see if said player can duplicate or improve upon a given season before getting an extension. Others it’s a way to merely buy time as negotiations towards a new deal progress. Then there’s the rare but not unheard of instance where it’s a way for teams to maintain the rights to a player long enough for them to be traded.

Last year the Miami Dolphins tagged wide receiver Jarvis Landry and dealt him to the Cleveland Browns shortly after. So it’s something teams can be open to. It’s all about the right situation mixed with the right price, both in terms of money and draft choices. Here are a few names that could be tagged by their respective teams but may end up getting dealt.

Nick Foles (QB, Philadelphia Eagles)

This one is the most obvious. The Eagles can’t afford to keep two quarterbacks of starting caliber any longer. They have to make a choice. Go with Foles after two excellent postseason performances or ride with Carson Wentz. It sounds like they plan to do the latter, but they can’t afford to let Foles walk for nothing.

After voiding his contract option, it appears he plans to hit free agency. This leaves Philadelphia with two options. They let him walk and get a likely compensatory pick in 2020. Or they franchise tag him with the belief they can get more in a trade with another team who badly needs a quarterback. It carries some risk, but Howie Roseman is good at this stuff.

Likely interested teams: Jacksonville Jaguars and Cincinnati Bengals

Anthony Barr (OLB, Minnesota Vikings)

Word continues to circulate that the Vikings are reluctant to pay Barr big money. Both because they feel the defense is good enough without him and also because they have a huge extension looming for Danielle Hunter. Yet the fact is this is a four-time Pro Bowl linebacker they’re teasing the idea of moving on from. They can’t do that without compensation.

Barr is a unique situation too. He’s done his great work thus far as a 4-3 outside linebacker, but some 3-4 teams may see untapped potential from him as a pass rusher. That actually may make tagging and trading him easier for the Vikings since they’ll have more suitors for his services. The big roadblock will be how much money he wants.

Likely interestest teams: Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, and Cincinnati Bengals

Dee Ford (EDGE, Kansas City Chiefs)

The Chiefs have good reason to extend Ford after he produced 13 sacks in 2018, marking the second time of his career he’s gone over double digits. There is a problem though. It appears the team is planning a switch to a 4-3 system under new defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. This creates a problem since Ford doesn’t have the size to play defensive end.

So rather than pay him big money to play a position he doesn’t fit, the Chiefs could tag him and ship him off to a pass rush-needy 3-4 team who is willing to pay. There is never a shortage of teams who are up for making such bold trades to score a greater ability to get the quarterback. Look at what the Bears did to get Khalil Mack last year.

Likely interested teams: New York Jets, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Green Bay Packers

Landon Collins (S, New York Giants)

There are a few things to keep in mind with this situation. On the surface, the Giants franchising Collins seems like a no brainer. He’s a playmaking safety with versatility and leadership qualities. However, one must remember who the GM is. Dave Gettleman has a history of not liking to pay defensive backs big money. He believes great defenses are driving by the front seven.

Then there are the recent injury concerns as well. It’s more than possible that Gettleman may use the tag as a way to facilitate a trade for Collins elsewhere. The Giants thus avoid spending the money and get some picks to rebuild the defense how he likes it. Price will be difficult though as not all teams place a high value on safeties.

Likely interested teams: Kansas City Chiefs, Seattle Seahawks, and Detroit Lions