Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Mar 2012

ESPN: Best and Worst Franchise Tag Uses

The bad uses are mostly circumstantial, but, to be clear: keeping a talented running back on a one-year deal is good. Keeping your franchise quarterback on the tag despite having nearly eight months to negotiate with him, thus losing your All-Pro guard and star receiver, is bad.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 05 Mar 2012

13 comments, Last at 08 Mar 2012, 4:55pm by LionInAZ


by Guido Merkens :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 7:21pm

Franchising a kicker is silly, but to be fair to the Bengals, Johnathan Joseph wouldn't have re-signed with them even if they offered 20% more than the Texans. Plus, Nugent is a kicker with some local cachet due to Ohioans' fond memories from his Buckeye days.

by zlionsfan :: Mon, 03/05/2012 - 10:55pm

The Lions tagging Avril is only good because of the caliber of his play - they really don't have anyone else worth tagging (which is saying something when you have 20 UFAs).

The problem is that it just puts off the problem for a year. Eventually the Lions will have other UFAs they'll need to keep (example: if they can't work out a solid extension for Megatron), and then they'll be in the same boat New Orleans is in, with too many good UFAs and nowhere to keep them.

by LionInAZ :: Thu, 03/08/2012 - 4:55pm

The ideal situation would be not to have to use the tag at all, but this seems to me like a good move for the Lions, because they have decent young depth at the position with Lawrence Jackson and Willie Young. They can keep Avril as their best DE for another year while Jackson and Young develop. It would also be worth seeing if Avril improves against the run, which was a sore spot for the Lions on both ends of the line. Beyond that, I have a feeling that next year might be Vanden Bosch's last one with the team. I think they want to keep him around a little longer for his leadership, but he was pretty vulnerable to runners bouncing outside of him as well. Having KVB's big contract off the books will open up more space.

One could argue that Tulloch could have gotten the tag, but the Lions don't have enough invested in him to merit franchising him after a 1-year deal. I do think they ought to solidify the MLB spot by signing him to a long-term contract, and I think that's much more important than a long-term deal for Avril because the LB position is in much worse shape than the DEs.

by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:12am

I might add the worse non-use of the franchise tag would be the Chargers on Vincent Jackson. Phillip Rivers could look forward to a long and painful season.

by tuluse :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 12:59am

I thought V Jack made a deal where he couldn't be franchised this year because he hates AJ Smith.

by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:35am

AJ Smith honor a deal not in writing? BUAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

by Statsarebeyondme (not verified) :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 1:25pm

He did with the Giants re: Eli/Rivers

by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 3:58pm

Technically you do the initial deal over the phone, but your staff faxes the proposed agreement over to the other team's front office, then their GM signs it and faxes it back.

by apk3000 :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 8:38am

I think it's because he was franchised last year so the 120% rule applies to him and that amount is way more than what he's likely to get on the open market.

by Kevin from Philly :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 5:40pm

Worse than what?

by sjt (not verified) :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 11:41pm

Rivers needs a solid line more than he needs VJ, and there are other needs as well, so every dime becomes important. Shelling out $13.4 million to a reciever for one year with no guarantee beyond that just isn't a smart move. Too expensive, you lose your leverage, and you just have to go through the whole thing again next year with another 20% tacked on.

by Omar Devone Little :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 2:09am

Where does Antony Spencer fit in this?

by AnonymousD (not verified) :: Tue, 03/06/2012 - 8:18am

He's not mentioned in the article, but personally I would put him in the "worst" category if one were to list all the players that received the franchise tag.