Eagles Unlikely to Use Franchise Tag

Riley CooperAs an impending free agent, the Eagles could use the franchise player tag on Riley Cooper, but that is unlikely because of the guaranteed money that the tag ensures for a one-year deal. (image courtesy of Philly.com)

Monday marks the first day on the NFL calendar that teams can apply either the franchise or transition tag to players about to become free agents, but don't look for the Eagles to take advantage of either tag. 

Both tags are designed as a fail-safe for teams to gain leverage over retaining a player about to hit free agency by paying them either among the top five or ten players at their respective positions for a one-year deal and placing a pricey cost to teams trying to poach that player in free agency. 

While Nate Allen, Riley Cooper and Donnie Jones all were starters in 2013, the Eagles likely have little interest in guaranteeing between $8 and $10 million-for Allen and Cooper respectively- to prevent them from hitting the open market when the league year opens and free agency begins on March 11th. 

The only legitimate argument that can be made on applying the franchise tag would be for it to be applied to Jeremy Maclin, but that would guarantee a one-year deal worth $10 million for Maclin. Yes, the team could still negotiate a long-term agreement with Maclin while he is under the franchise tag, it's far more likely that he will either re-sign with the team or be allowed to test the free agency waters, rather than go through the acrimony that typically accompanies the use of either tag. 

Where these tags might impact the Eagles most is on the open market where a team such as the Cleveland Browns could use the franchise tag on safety TJ Ward, therefore keeping him for a one-year $8 million deal and avoid letting teams such as the Birds sign him next month. 

Meanwhile, free agent safety Jairus Byrd played under the franchise tag for the Bills last season and earned $6.97 million while holding out for training camp and missing five games due to plantar fasciitis. 

Players can be tagged two years in a row and it will be interesting to see how Buffalo handles Byrd in the run-up to free agency this time around and if it impacts the Eagles ability or interest in signing him next month.  

Matt Lombardo is the Editor-In-Chief of Eagledelphia and also an on-air personality on 97.5 FM The Fanatic in Philadelphia. Join the conversation and follow Matt on Twitter.
Go to top button