A Look At Which Players Were Franchise Tagged, And More Importantly, Which Were Not.
The deadline for teams to apply the Franchise tag has come and gone. The Detroit Lions franchise tagged pass rusher Ziggy Ansah. That uses up $17.143 million of the team’s available salary cap space for the 2017 season. Several other teams also decided that keeping one of their assets was the smart move. There are also a few that have, for some reason or another, decided to let their marquee player test the waters of free agency. I decided to take a look at how each of those decisions affects the Lions going forward.
Those Who Got Franchise Tagged
The Miami Dolphins franchise tagged wide receiver, Jarvis Landry. Landry is basically the same kind of player as Golden Tate, but with far less athletic upside. The Lions were unlikely to be in the market for his services.
The Dallas Cowboys franchise tagged defensive end, Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence was likely the only defensive end that offered more upside in this free agent class than Ziggy Ansah, and he would likely have been a target for the Lions.
The Pittsburgh Steelers franchise tagged Le’Veon Bell. Bell’s salary demands are completely insane, and make no sense for the position. It is extremely unlikely that the Lions would have used 60-75% of their remaining salary cap space on a running back.
The Los Angeles Rams applied the non-exclusive franchise tag to safety Lemarcus Joyner. Joyner switched to safety full time in 2017 and played very well. They are hoping to line up a long-term deal before the July 16 deadline. The non-exclusive tag allows Joyner to negotiate with other teams, and the Rams to match any deal made to keep him.
Former Chicago Bears corner Kyle Fuller also found himself under the transition tag. Fuller was one of the bright spots for the Bears with 22 passes defended in 2017. The Lions were unlikely to chase a potential number one corner. They already have Darius Slay under contract through the 2020 season.
Those Who Did Not Get Franchise Tagged
Former Los Angeles Rams corner Trumaine Johnson will finally hit free agency. The Rams had used the tag on Johnson in both 2016 and 2017. Johnson was never one of the NFL’s elite corners, but his play under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips regressed significantly in 2017. The only way the Lions could conceivably be interested in Johnson is if he decides to take a one year “show me” deal. Teams may be unwilling to make a long-term offer to a player coming off his worst season as a pro.
Allen Robinson and Sammy Watkins, wide receivers formerly of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Los Angeles Rams are also free of the franchise tag. This would have been a good year for the Lions to need a wide receiver. With Golden Tate and Marvin Jones both in their primes, and Kenny Golladay coming off a promising rookie campaign, the team is not likely to be looking for help there.
The Seattle Seahawks surprised nobody by letting Sheldon Richardson hit free agency. the volatile defensive tackle had a great season for them. That likely took him out of the team’s price range moving forward. The Lions could use a player like Richardson in their defensive tackle group. His price will likely prohibit the team from going in that direction, however.
There are not really any other players in free agency this year that were potential franchise tag targets. Before players started getting cut this was a relatively weak crop of free agents.
Keep coming to detroitlionspodcast.com for free agency coverage.