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Fallout of the 2024 NFL Franchise Tag Deadline

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Much like the month of March, the NFL’s franchise tag deadline came in like a lion and went out like a lamb. NFL teams had until 4 p.m. ET Tuesday to place either a franchise or transition tag on any players with expiring contracts. Ultimate, nine teams used the tag (eight franchise and one transition). 

Tags can serve one of three main functions for teams in today’s NFL. Oftentimes, they’re a way of extending negotiations on a long-term deal beyond the league new year (March 13). However, sometimes the team isn’t willing to commit to a player beyond one year. The tag allows them to retain the player on a guaranteed deal for that one year. The third option is a tag-and-trade scenario. While not as common as the first two, it isn’t exactly rare either. In fact, we could have at least one tag-and-trade this year.

 

Once tagged, players and teams will have until July 15 to either negotiate a long-term deal or sign the tag. For a tagged player to be traded, that player needs to sign his tag. Before signing the tag, the player is not officially on a roster, and thus cannot be traded.

Here are the nine players who were tagged with some thoughts on what the future holds for each:

2024 NFL Franchise Tags

Tee Higgins – Cincinnati Bengals

The wide receiver was the first player to be tagged. It’s possible the Bengals are looking to get one more year out of him, though Tee Higgins is a very real trade candidate. Cincinnati will almost certainly be making a massive long-term commitment to Ja’Marr Chase. It’ll be difficult to keep Higgins in-house after that point. Of course, Tyler Boyd looks likely to walk in free agency, so a Higgins trade would really thin out the Cincinnati wide receiver room.

Michael Pittman – Indianapolis Colts

Michael Pittman Indianapolis Colts NFL Franchise Tag Deadline Fallout

All signs point toward the tag just being a placeholder for Michael Pittman and the Colts. GM Chris Ballard told reporters that he’s had positive conversations with Pittman’s agent. A long-term deal seems likely for Pittman.

L’Jarius Sneed – Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City opted to tag L’Jarius Sneed, but immediately gave him permission to see a trade. While Sneed was a big part of their Super Bowl run, the Chiefs showed success identifying talent at corner in the draft with the 2022 selection of Trent McDuffie. There’s a good chance Sneed is playing for someone else in 2024.

Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers

This one is tricky. Rumors floated around about teams trying to acquire Brian Burns last year, but the Panthers refused to let him go. But have they changed their tune? This one really could go any direction. Burns and the Panthers could work out a long-term deal or he could end up getting traded. It’s going to be fascinating to follow.

Justin Madubuike – Baltimore Ravens

One the league’s biggest up-and-comers, Justin Madubuike figures to engage in long-term talks with the Ravens. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta confirmed as much in a statement March 5.

Josh Allen – Jacksonville Jaguars 

Josh Allen Jacksonville Jaguars NFL Franchise Tag Deadline Fallout

GM Trent Baalke made it abundantly clear that the Jags want to get a long-term deal done with Josh Allen. Expect that to happen well in advance of the July 15 deadline.

Jaylon Johnson – Chicago Bears

Jaylon Johnson has been one of the league’s top young corners over the past few seasons and really broke out in 2023. The Bears were extremely effective down the stretch on the defensive side of the ball, and Johnson was a big reason why. Look for both sides to get a long-term deal done in the coming months.

Antoine Winfield – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 

After re-signing Mike Evans earlier in the week, the Bucs opted to tag Antoine Winfield over Baker Mayfield. While safety isn’t the biggest position of priority in today’s NFL, the move makes sense given Winfield’s age and his first-team All Pro status. It isn’t clear if Tampa will attempt to get a long-term deal in place of if Winfield will take the guaranteed $17.1 million payout under the tag.

Kyle Dugger – New England Patriots

Here’s the long transition tag in this year’s class. Like the non-exclusive franchise tag, Kyle Dugger can try to land a deal with another team. If he does, the Patriots will have the right to match the deal. If they decline, Dugger can sign elsewhere. However, unlike the non-exclusive franchise tag, the Patriots will not receive any compensation if they do not match the other offer.

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