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2020 NFL Free Agency: Franchise Tag And Transition Tag Situations

The window for NFL teams to use the franchise tag and/or transition tag on players opens today and runs through March 12, and there are a bunch of players—including a few teams with multiple options—that could get tagged in 2020. So which players will get a franchise or transition tag? We could see a ton of action this year, with teams allowed to use both tags at the moment. Over a dozen uses of the tags is a possibilitiy.


QB Dak Prescott, Cowboys

Unless the Cowboys plan a full-court press on Tom Brady, franchising Dak Prescott should be a very easy decision. Dak wants to continue playing for Dallas, but it’s too risky to let a young franchise quarterback like him test the market and potentially get thrown a deal too difficult to pass up from another team.

Verdict: Franchise tag


WR Amari Cooper, Cowboys

The Cowboys paid a first-round price to acquire Amari Cooper in 2018, so they are going to want to keep him on the roster. But barring a long-term extension with Prescott in the next couple of weeks, Dallas will likely be limited to the transition tag for Cooper.

Verdict: Transition tag


RB Derrick Henry, Titans

The Titans are in a tough spot with their franchise and transition tags, but things will be easier if the new CBA is not ratified soon, as they would be able to use both tags. They are a very rare team where the running back might be more important to secure than the quarterback, especially with so many signal-callers available this offseason. Tennessee should not let workhorse runner Derrick Henry out of the building, but the transition tag might be the way to go, as it would let Henry test the market to get the best deal possible, which the Titans can then match.

Verdict: Transition tag


QB Ryan Tannehill, Titans

No one really knows what will happen at this point, but the Titans could be in the mix for Tom Brady this offseason, especially with Brady’s friend and former teammate Mike Vrabel coaching the squad. Complicating things is that the Titans must make a decision on Ryan Tannehill before free agency. The best course of action might be to tag Tannehill, and then the team can either revoke the tag (if he does not sign it) or trade him to another team (if he does sign it) in the event that Brady comes into play.

Verdict: Franchise tag


DL Chris Jones, Chiefs

After he reported to the team instead of a lengthy holdout last year, Chris Jones may ultimately hold out this season if the Chiefs slap the franchise tag on him. A long-term deal seems likely at some point, despite Kansas City already committing a ton of money to Frank Clark in 2019. However, the Chiefs are likely to tag Jones to ensure he can only play for them as they look to defend their title.

Verdict: Franchise tag


EDGE Shaquil Barrett, Buccaneers

Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians has said he wants to spend money on defense, so it would be a major shocker if they do not put one of the tags on Shaquil Barrett. The NFL’s reigning sack leader should get a long-term deal, but he’d probably be fine with making a lot of money on the franchise tag before potentially hitting the open market in 2021.

Verdict: Franchise tag


QB Jameis Winston, Buccaneers

Bruce Arians has also said the team can win with a quarterback other than Jameis Winston (while also saying they can win with Winston, too). The feel has been that the Bucs want to ride with the former No. 1 overall pick, but that might just be a smokescreen to hide interest in another free agent or rookie. The transition tag should be in play, but Tampa Bay can let Winston hit free agency.

Verdict: No tag


WR A.J. Green, Bengals

A.J. Green has indicated he wants to play for one team his entire career, but his situation with the Bengals is a bit of a mystery. If Cincinnati wants to keep Green long-term, it might be best to let him test the market and then make a decision when the offers come next month. Otherwise, they risk an unhappy star receiver, making things more difficult on a rookie quarterback.

Verdict: Transition tag


RB Melvin Gordon, Chargers

After Melvin Gordon held out into the regular season last year, it would be a bit of a stunner if the Chargers risk a similar situation in 2020 by placing the franchise tag on the former first-round pick. Gordon is still an excellent back, though, so the transition tag would be a wise decision in case they can potentially get him on a long-term deal with value after it’s offered by another team.

Verdict: Transition tag


TE Hunter Henry, Chargers

This is a tough one for the Chargers, as Hunter Henry adds another element as a target over the middle. With Philip Rivers (a fan of throwing to tight ends) gone, it might be less important to ensure Henry stays as the offense undergoes an overhaul. Given the injury history, the Chargers should try to retain Henry but let him become an unrestricted free agent.

Verdict: No tag


EDGE Yannick Ngakoue, Jaguars

Yannick Ngakoue himself appears optimistic that he will not get tagged by the Jaguars, but that might be wishful thinking on his part. Jacksonville is set on the defensive line with emerging stud Josh Allen poised for a larger role moving forward, but the franchise won’t want a young, consistent edge rusher to leave for nothing.

Verdict: Franchise tag


S Justin Simmons, Broncos

Justin Simmons expects the franchise tag from the Broncos, and defensive head coach Vic Fangio isn’t likely to recommend to John Elway that they let the versatile safety leave.

Verdict: Franchise tag


CB James Bradberry, Panthers

It’s tough to determine where the Panthers stand on a guy like James Bradberry, who is in his prime but will command a lot of money to keep him on the roster for the next handful of years. Ultimately, first-year head coach Matt Rhule probably feels Bradberry is someone he wants to be part of his program.

Verdict: Franchise tag


EDGE Bud Dupree, Steelers

The Steelers have a difficult cap situation, but they really want to keep Bud Dupree. The two sides remain a great fit, so ideally they’ll get a long-term extension done to alleviate the cap situation now with bigger cap hits in future years. Pittsburgh can go with the transition tag to play things safe.

Verdict: Transition tag


EDGE Matthew Judon, Ravens

The expectation is that the Ravens don’t let Matthew Judon walk, as they just lost Za’Darius Smith last year. Judon is coming off a career-high 9.5 sacks in 2019.

Verdict: Franchise tag  


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