What is a franchise tag?
A designation a team may apply to a player scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. The tag binds the player to the team for one year if certain conditions are met. The franchise tag enables many different aspects for a player, and more specifically, the particular team that places the tag.
So Basically the franchise tag if for well deserved players, who the team cannot afford to lose. Over the years, a lot of really great players have been rewarded with such an honor from offensive to defensive talents. The most important aspect a team has to identify, is if it is a necessary move to make, and more importantly for the organization. The team has to know that this player will want to stay with the team, lose or win. It's a big deal to give an individual the franchise tag. Period.
So, why should a team try to use the franchise tag on a player? To secure their spot in their organization for future years. Many players may not want the tag, but the one's who take it, buy in and stay with the team for future years in most cases. The tag is for the best players in the NFL, or the potentially best player's in the NFL, and could be seen as an emblem of excellence.
This list compiles ten NFL Players, who in all senses deserve to get the franchise tag from performance or nature. They have worked hard enough (in the authors opinion) to get the tag. This article is not to regard if the player would want the tag or not, because that is irrelevant, but whether they deserve it is a whole other story....
The NFL is a league of business, and.. more business. Everything that transpires is about money, money and more money. Maybe, that is an unfair assessment, it's closer to 80% business, and 20% love for the game. The 80% are the corporations who strive for business goals, and 20% are the players who buy in to the program. The players who buy in?
They get the Franchise Tag. This is a way to protect teams from losing their star players to free agency. Players don't like to get tagged, because every player wants a long-term deal with plenty of guaranteed money. In one way, it's an honor for a team to think so highly of a player as to give them tag money, on the other hand, it's frustrating for a player that's looking to set himself up for the rest of his career.
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16 Drew Brees
Super Bowl champion Drew Brees may soon know what it's like to be tagged, as his contract is soon up for the New Orleans Saints. The question becomes, does the team that Brees has led to so many victories attempt to keep him around, by locking him in to a deal during his later years? We already know that Brees is no longer in his prime, but with free agency coming next season, he would certainly be the highlight to the class if the Saints don't tag him.
15 Larry Fitzgerald
At 32 years old, Larry Fitzgerald is coming up on the receiver slump, as his numbers have dwindled over the past few years. Though he was on a downward trend, the Arizona Cardinals receiver surprised everyone with a nine touchdown season last year. If he pulls off another season like last, don't be surprised if the Cardinals don't slap a franchise tag on the future Hall of Famer. Chances are that Fitzgerald would welcome the tag, and will probably end his career in Arizona.
14 Derek Carr
Selected in the second round, Carr has been a standout for the Oakland Raiders. He was doubted since he came out of college, purely because people compared him to his sluggish brother, whom doesn't need to be named. He has been a talented find for the Raiders, and even made the Pro Bowl this past season.
His skill set has been recognized, and he was signed to a four year deal his rookie year, but the tag is worth considering for this standout guy.
13 Tyron Smith
Tyron Smith is a premier offensive tackle in the NFL. He is a three time Pro Bowler, and just a beast all around. He did a great job blocking for Darren McFadden this past season for the Dallas Cowboys, and will continue to do so for other running backs. Smith deserves the franchise tag for his adaptable physical nature. There is a reason he was ranked number one in high school for defensive players. Jerry Jones might want to drop a tag on Smith, and ensure he remains a Cowboy.
12 Aaron Donald
Like Tyron Smith, Aaron Donald is a big dude, who can hit hard. A two time Pro Bowler, this Rams Defensive Tackle has been elite since his rookie year in 2014. He's a Lombardi Award winner, and not to mention he won the Chuck Bednarik award in 2013. The Rams know how good he is, and should capitalize on his talents by giving him the tag. With a league that is devoid of a ton of elite defensive lineman, Donald could get the tag in the next couple years, keep an eye out.
11 Marcus Peters
I hate Marcus Peters. You know why? I got a pack of cards, and pulled a Peters autograph. This was in the beginning of the 2015 season, and at the time he was a nobody. I sold the card on eBay for like $5.00, now he's a beast. He was named Defensive Rookie of the Year this past season, and had an awesome year with the Kansas City Chiefs. His skills defending may be unmatched in this league.
He. Deserves. The. Franchise. Tag.
Make it Happen Kansas City.
10 Brandon McManus
McManus was fantastic in the Broncos Super Bowl victory, and had a tremendous season in 2015. He could someday be as good as some of the most elite kickers in history, and he may already be. He hit clutch kicks this past year, from extremely long distances for Denver. There aren't many talented kickers like him that come along, and the great thing about kickers is they don't slow down. They sometimes get better with age.
9 Pat O'Donnell
Now before I get scolded by the readers for being stupid or whatever, Pat O'Donnell is a very reliable punter. Punter's are far more important than given proper credit for. For the Chicago Bears, he has continued to punt the ball far and wide on every kick. In 2014, he was the only punter selected in the NFL draft, and he averaged nearly 50 yard punts every time, which is spectacular.
I say give him the franchise tag, because a fantastic punter is a rare thing, and although it is expensive money, it could secure his spot for future years.
8 Ryan Kalil
The Carolina Panthers did quite a bit this past season despite having an offensive line that was suspect. Ryan Kalil has been the glue of that o-line for many seasons now, and we saw just how big of a leader he was this past season, as Cam Newton was able to have a career year and the Panthers had the no.1 scoring offense despite a lack of talent at the skill positions. With Cam Newton locked up to a long-term deal, expect Kalil to be right there with Newton for the next few seasons. When his contract is up next year, expect the franchise tag. Unlike Josh Norman, the Panthers won't rescind it, as Kalil hasn't just been an elite player for one season.
7 Eric Berry
Eric Berry was one of the feel good stories of the NFL last season, making a successful return from Hodgkin's lymphoma to have an incredible comeback season, leading the Chiefs to an 11-5 record and their first playoff win in over 20 years. Since coming into the league, Berry has been a leader in the Chiefs secondary. With his contract set to expire after next season, there is no way the Chiefs are letting him get to free agency. With the Broncos set for a decline, the Chiefs have a chance to take over the AFC West.
6 Andrew Luck
After a disappointing injury riddled 2015 season, expect Andrew Luck to come flying out of the gate this coming season, in a contract year. With the amount of money the likes of Brock Osweiler are getting, what do you think someone like Luck's value will be? The Colts will want to bide their time as much as possible before a long-term deal, so Andrew Luck getting tagged next winter is inevitable. The Colts would have to use the exclusive franchise tag to prevent other teams from talking to Luck.
4 Khalil Mack
Khalil Mack deserves all the credit he gets as a stand out defensive player. He is the first player in NFL history to make the All-Pro First Team for two different positions; linebacker and defensive end. He broke many records in college, and the Oakland Raiders should take a closer look at their priorities. Mack is an athletic defender who is already one of the greats in the NFL. He could be a Raiders legend when all is said and done.
3 Tyrann Mathieu
The free safety for the Arizona Cardinals was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy while in college, and hasn't slowed down since. He made his first Pro Bowl appearance this season, and had an absolute standout year, racking up eight interceptions. Tyrann has had trouble with the law, but if he sorts that stuff out, he has the potential to have a fantastic career. The Cardinals would be smart to jump out in front of the bidding war for this great player.
2 Marcus Mariota
Sure he is young, but Marus Mariota is so talented. The Tennessee Titans quarterback will be a superstar one day, put money on it. The Heisman winner is off to a good start in the league, after completing his first season. Mariota's vision downfield in comparable to Andrew Luck or other great QBs in the league, with a solid passing ratio between his games.
In the next couple years, I predict the Titans spending the franchise tag on him. After a prominent career in Oregon, the future looks good for him.
1 DeAndre Hopkins
Arguably the best receiver in the NFL, Hopkins had a monster season in 2015. He went off and, personally it was spectacular to have him on my fantasy team yet again. The Texans receiver has recorded 239 receptions, and 19 touchdowns in three seasons. His athleticism is difficult to cover, and he uses his height as well as a barricade against defenses. I think the franchise tag should be used on Hopkins this season because he is purely a spectacle. The Texans just need a quarterback, then they are set, but putting the tag on Hopkins would solidify their roster.
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