clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

What the franchise tag decisions mean for the Buccaneers

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The franchise tag deadline came and went, and ten players got hit with tags. Von Miller received the exclusive franchise tag, the most expensive version that hasn't been used since Drew Brees in 2012. Apparently the Denver Broncos are afraid a team would be willing to give up two first-round draft picks for Miller, and present him with a long-term contract Denver couldn't match.

Eight players got hit with a non-exclusive franchise tag, which allows other teams to sign tagged players, if they're willing to part with two first-round picks -- and even then, their original team gets a right to match the contract and decline those picks. Those eight players: Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson, Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, Bills tackle Cordy Glenn, Panthers cornerback Josh Norman, Rams cornerback Trumaine Johnson, Chiefs safety Eric Berry, Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, and Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins.

Finally, Dolphins defensive end Olivier Vernon received a transition tag, which means other teams can attempt to sign him, giving the Dolphins a chance to match. If they decline, no compensation for them.

Here are the main takeaways for the Bucs.

Doug Martin wasn't tagged

The Buccaneers are not willing to break the bank for Doug Martin, which  is why he wasn't tagged in any way. A tag would have cost them anywhere from $10 million to $12 million, and that's just too much money for a team that doesn't even appear willing to give him a contract worth $8 million per year.

Pass rushers get tagged

Three pass rushers came off the market, with Muhammad Wilkerson, Von Miller and Olivier Vernon all receiving tags. The Bucs could theoretically try to sign Wilkerson, if they want to give up two first-round picks. Spoiler: they won't. Going after Vernon is still a possibility because he got hit with the transition tag, which means the Miami Dolphins pay him less money, and any team can try to sign him to a contract -- which the Dolphins then have a right to match.

The Bucs could try to do that, they did something similar with restricted free agent George Johnson last year, but they'd have to pay an absolute premium to get anywhere close to Vernon. Not only will the Dolphins be able to match anything but a top-of-the-market, frontloaded deal -- the Bucs would also be likely to have some competition for Vernon's services, if they pursue him. Don't expect them to.

On bright side, one player the Bucs could sign did hit the market. Mario Williams was released by the Buffalo Bills. And with Eric Berry tagged by the Chiefs, Tamba Hali might make it to free agency as well.

One cornerback remains available

While Josh Norman and Eric Berry both got hit with a franchise tag, a few players are likely to still be available. Most notably Rams cornerback Janoris Jenkins, who saw teammate Trumaine Johnson get the tag instead. Jenkins has 10 interceptions in four years, and while he's not a shutdown corner, he'd certainly be a quality starter -- if the Bucs decide to shell out the big bucks for a defensive back, that is.

Quarterbacks are expensive

Kirk Cousins got hit with a $20 million tag, and Sam Bradford signed a two-year, $36 million deal, which included $26 million in guaranteed money. Meanwhile, the Bucs have Jameis Winston signed on a four-year, $25 million deal with a fifth-year option. Good fun.