Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

17 Feb 2012

ESPN: Five Players Who Should Be Tagged

We recommend five players who need the franchise tag: Ray Rice, Matt Forte, Wes Welker, Carlos Rogers, and either Drew Brees or Carl Nicks.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 17 Feb 2012

23 comments, Last at 24 Feb 2012, 4:53pm by Anonymoussa


by tuluse :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 3:06pm

I'm hoping the Bears can work out a longer term deal with Forte. Something in the neighborhood of 4 years 25 million.

by Eddo :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 3:54pm

Since there's no way he signs a deal worth only $6.25 million a year, I'm hoping they franchise him twice, then move on.

by tuluse :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 3:56pm

I know he wants a lot more, but is there a team that's going to give it to him?

by Maximus Prime (not verified) :: Sun, 02/19/2012 - 1:45pm

Bengals? They have a ton of cap space, and really don't like Cedric Benson. Matt Forte would be great for Andy Dalton, and they already have a stellar o-line.

by JasonK :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 3:58pm

That doesn't seem like a particularly realistic ballpark figure. $25M over 4 years is kind of contract that guys like Brandon Jacobs and Frank Gore signed recent years. Neither of those guys is a feature back and big-play threat in his prime like Forte is.

by Pottsville Maro... :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 5:14pm

I think both sides will arrive at a number in the neighborhood of 3 years, $30 million, with $20-25 million guaranteed. The Bears (understandably) don't want to be tied to paying a 30 year old RB eight figures, and such a contract would limit the Bears' long-term liability while providing Forte with security, a high annual salary, and a shot at another contract (he will be 29 three years from now).

by tuluse :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 5:16pm

There is no way the Bears pay him 10 million per year. He was asking for 8 per last year and didn't get it.

by Pottsville Maro... :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 5:20pm

And he had a career year this year. He almost reached his 16-game 2010 rushing and receiving totals in only 12 games.

More importantly, the Bears don't have an adequate replacement, and need their high draft picks to replenish their shaky OL and aging defense.

by tuluse :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 5:21pm

They can franchise him for less money than that. It's not going to happen.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 5:39pm

Guaranteeing $25m out of a $30 million deal makes no sense. Are you Forte's agent?

by Lance :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 6:29pm

Yeah, that sounded like an odd idea to me, too. Even if it's $30M with $20M guaranteed on a 3 year deal, that seems nuts.

by Karl Cuba :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 5:38pm

I can't agree with tagging Carlos Rogers for the 49ers. The tag is about $9 million for cornerbacks whereas it would cost just under $6.5 to tag Dashon Golsdon, who I think should be a higher priority.

I think that safety is one of the most talent deprived positions in the NFL. Goldson wasn't great the year before last but was really productive last year and in 2009. He's also five years younger than Rogers and there are a lot more decent cornerbacks available in free agency than safeties.

I also think that both players benefitted enormously from the niners' outstanding front seven which is able to stuff the run without the need to bring a safety into the box and pressure the quarterback with a four man rush, allowing the niners to play defense with two safeties deep. I think Rogers stats benefit from this and I'd rather pay £6 million than %5m. Rogers only had eight career interceptions before this year so to reward the 31 year old for his career year is the definition of buying at the top of the market.

The idea of Brees on the 49ers makes me weak at the knees. I also think the Steelers should put an exclusive tag on Mike Wallace so that a team with a late round pick like the 49ers doesn't steal him.

by Rabbit :: Sat, 02/18/2012 - 8:39am

Like this response.

Not many fans accept that it's often the team and scheme that dictate a player's level of play, as we see it anyway, and we generally see it through the accumulation of stats. But as Belichick once said, 'Stats are for losers'. Rogers may be a fine CB, but take him from that SF Line and he may be mush too. I do know that he was targeted frequently by Gilbride during the NFCC, and being targeted is not exactly a compliment.

But the same could be said about Wallace. Is he one of the best deep receivers in football without Ben? Debatable.

It may come of as such, but I am not criticizing two players here, just making a general statement.

by JonFrum :: Sat, 02/18/2012 - 8:27pm

You don't think Wallace could catch passes from Tom Brady? it's not like Rothlesburger is running 25 yards down the field and handing off the Wallace. He's a stud, and any competent QB who can throw downfield will get him the ball.

by MurphyZero :: Sun, 02/19/2012 - 7:56pm

Plus Wallace has caught them from Batch as well. Wallace can get the deep pass taken away, though I think it takes tight man and a safety deep in zone which opens up the other receivers or a fast rush which exposes the line problems. But when that happens, Wallace can also go underneath and be amazing. Being a Steelers fan, I'd rather they lock him up for years, but I think the Steelers should have done that prior to this year before the price tag went up. Signing Wallace long term will mean some long time (old and past their prime, though still useful players) Steelers being released. Hines will likely need to accept veteran minimum and even then I don't know if the ownership can afford it. Some of the most recent resignings have put the Steelers in one hell of a bind.
It may not be a rebuilding year as such, but it definitely will be the start of a youth movement.

by Rabbit :: Wed, 02/22/2012 - 10:13am

That's not what I said. As a matter of fact I was specific that I was not criticizing either Wallace or Rogers.

What I did say is that teams and schemes often have as much to do with how we perceive a players game then the talent of that player, alone, so it's hard to know how any player's game will translate to another team. Lloyd, Rice, Carter, Anderson, Carr, Asomugha, Miller, and even Brees (post-Cameron) will attest to that, for starters. Many, many more.

by Steve in WI :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 6:29pm

I love Forte as a player, but I think franchising him is the right move for the Bears. They can keep him around for a couple more years (should they choose to franchise him again next year as well) and see how he holds up; the guy's got a lot of miles on him for a RB his age.

I understand where he was coming from in not accepting the contract the Bears offered him, and I agree that he's among the top 3-5 RBs in the league, but RB is probably one of the more fungible positions in the league and even on the Bears' mediocre offense. Let's not forget how Kahlil Bell and Armando Allen looked in the last couple games of the season - and that was with the Bears using McCown and clearly depending a lot more on the running game than they would have with Cutler.

by justanothersteve :: Sat, 02/18/2012 - 1:30am

Question is whether the Bears risk Forte not signing and pulling a Chris Johnson once he does. Unlike Johnson, he's not under contract so he has there is nothing the Bears can do to threaten him unless they somehow find another competent RB. I honestly don't think he'll be as bad as CJ if he were to hold out. But are the Bears really prepared to go into the 2012 with Kahlil Bell and Marion Barber? While Barber may again find his mojo, I wouldn't count on it.

by Jimmy :: Sat, 02/18/2012 - 9:38am

Firstly I don't think Forte is the captain of entitlement like CJ2K. I would be shocked of he didn't turn up in great shape under the tag if for no other reason than he has to rehab a knee and anyone thinking of looking at him for the year after will want to see the pre MCL player.

Secondly there may be some better parameters for Forte's next contract (eg Ray Rice, Arian Foster) whereas CJ2K was sort of a question mark.

by asdfadad (not verified) :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 8:06pm

I know how important Offensive Line play is, but does anybody really think the New Orleans Saints have the financial wiggle room to have the two most expensive guards in the league?

I think he either gets a cap friendly long term deal or he walks.

by asdfadad (not verified) :: Fri, 02/17/2012 - 8:09pm

... there is no longer a distinction between T and G ... both get the same tender.

Replace him with either a rookie or a cheaper veteran, you save up to 7m with just a slightly worse line performance

by mm (not verified) :: Sat, 02/18/2012 - 4:09pm

Brees depends on interior line play. The Saints go cheap on the tackles, but the guards are worth the money.

by Anonymoussa (not verified) :: Fri, 02/24/2012 - 4:53pm

The Lions should also tag Cliff Avril...and then trade him. I don't think he's worth the money he'll get.