NFL franchise tag deadline 2024: Top 5 takeaways

Baker Mayfield
Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL franchise tag deadline came and went on Tuesday with a whole bunch of huge decisions made by teams around the league.

Said tag is a way for teams to avoid big-time players hitting NFL free agency. It’s been somewhat of a complicated aspect of the offseason in recent years, especially with some players deciding to hold out.

This offseason saw edge rushers Brian Burns and Josh Allen handed the franchise tag. Star wide receiver Tee Higgins of the Cincinnati Bengals also had the tag placed on him.

Here, we provide some takeaways from the NFL franchise tag deadline. But first, let’s look at who had said tag placed on them.

Related: Top 2024 NFL free agents

Players who had NFL franchise tag placed on them

nfl franchise tag: josh allen, jacksonville jaguars
Credit: Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Unio / USA TODAY NETWORK
  • Josh Allen, EDGE, Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Brian Burns, EDGE, Carolina Panthers
  • Tee Higgins, wide receiver, Cincinnati Bengals
  • Michael Pittman Jr., wide receiver, Indianapolis Colts
  • Justin Madubuike, defensive tackle, Baltimore Ravens
  • L’Jarius Sneed, cornerback, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Jaylon Johnson, cornerback, Chicago Bears
  • Antoine Winfield, safety, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Player who avoided the franchise tag

nfl franchise tag, christian wilkins
Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports
  • Saquon Barkley, running back, New York Giants
  • Baker Mayfied, quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  • Chris Jones, defensive tackle, Kansas City Chiefs
  • Christian Wilkins, defensive tackle, Miami Dolphins

Related: Updated NFL trade rumors

Key takeaways from NFL franchise tag deadline

With all of that as a backdrop, there is a lot to look at here. Some players will now hit NFL free agency when it initially looked like the franchise tag was imminent. Others who were tagged will likely be traded once the new league year opens. Let’s look at some key takeaways

Baker Mayfield likely to test NFL free agency

Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Baker Mayfield
Credit: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

Once the Buccaneers re-signed Mike Evans ahead of free agency, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that they would place the tag on Mayfield. Instead, Tampa Bay used said tag on safety Antoine Winfield Jr. The financial difference was obvious. Tagging Mayfield would’ve cost $38.3 million. It stands at $17.1 million for Winfield Jr.

With that said, this decision will allow Mayfield to test free agency. Tampa Bay had sole negotiating power with him since the end of his breakout 2023 season. Why wouldn’t he talk with other teams? At the very least, it could up Mayfield’s value on an extension with the Bucs. Thus far, the former No. 1 pick has been linked to the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings.

Related: Highest-paid NFL quarterbacks of 2024

Expect L’Jarius Sneed and Brian Burns to be traded

Brian Burns, Carolina Panthers
Credit: Morgan Tencza-USA TODAY Sports

After placing the tag on Sneed, the Kansas City Chiefs gave him permission to seek out trade partners. It would be a way for the two-time defending Super Bowl champions to get something in return for a valuable player. Last season saw Sneed yield a 51.1% completion and 56.2 QB rating when targeted. There is going to be a strong market for him.

As for Burns and the Panthers, there is also a good chance that he’ll be moved. The two sides failed to come to terms on an extension ahead of last season and didn’t seem to get much closer before Tuesday’s deadline. Interestingly enough, Carolina turned down two first-round picks and change from the Los Angeles Rams ahead of the in-season 2022 NFL trade deadline. The team is not going to get anywhere near that this time around.

Saquon Barkley likely moving on from New York Giants

New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley
Credit: Kevin R. Wexler / USA TODAY NETWORK

The writing has been on the wall for some time as it relates to Barkley’s future with the Giants. He held out last offseason after being given the tag. Said tag would’ve increased to well over $15 million in 2024 due to it being the second consecutive time the Giants had utilized it.

That’s not to be. New York will let Barkley test free agency. At this point, it stands to reason that the former No. 2 pick will be heading out of town. A specific AFC team is already seen as the favorite to land the former NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Related: 2024 NFL salary cap tracker

Chris Jones situation with Kansas City Chiefs gets real interesting

Kansas City Chiefs' Chris Jones
Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kansas City’s decision to place the tag on Sneed seemed to indicate that the team was close to handing Jones a long-term contract extension. With less than a week to go before the tampering period starts in NFL free agency, we’re not too sure. As for Jones, he sent out a cryptic tweet after the deadline passed.

Jones, 29, is considered one of the best interior pass rushers in the NFL. Since the start of the 2018 season, he’s tallied 152 QB hits, 68 tackles for loss and 67 sacks. While the expectation is that he’ll return to the Chiefs, don’t discount another team ponying up a huge offer for the star defender.

Chicago Bears seemingly going all in this offseason

Jaylon Johnson trade, Chicago Bears news

It was somewhat of a surprise to see Chicago place the tag on Johnson. Sure, he was among the best cover guys in the NFL. But a rebuilding team doling out $19.8 million to a cornerback was a bit surprising.

This seems to be a clear indication that general manager Ryan Poles and Co. are going all in during the offseason. They have a ton of cap room. They will be extremely active during free agency.

NFL franchise tag value by position

Quarterback$38.30 million
Linebacker$24.0 million
Defensive tackle$22.10 million
Wide receiver$21.82 million
Defensive end$21.32 million
Offensive line$20.99 million
Cornerback$19.80 million
Safety$17.12 million
Tight end$12.69 million
Running back$11.95 million
Specialists$5.98 million
Mentioned in this article:

More About: