On Tuesday the NFL’s deadline passed to Franchise Tag players for the 2021 season. This is a crucial step before the new league year begins on Wednesday, March 17. This year, nine players received the Franchise Tag, which guarantees a one-year salary, prevents them from moving on in Free Agency and puts pressure on teams to get a long-term deal done before July.
Below is a look at the nine players that received the Franchise Tag in 2021.
Allen Robinson, Chicago Bears: Robinson has played in Chicago the last three seasons and has been a big piece of the Bears’ passing offense. In 2020, he saw 151 targets, catching 102 passes for 1,250 yards and six TDs. In his three years with the Bears, Robinson has caught 255 passes for 3,151 yards and 17 TDs. He figured to draw big interest on the open market, so the Bears locked up their top pass catcher. The move doesn’t change Robinson’s value (I still have him as a Top 10 WR) and should be a boost to young receiver Darnell Mooney and young tight end Cole Kmet.
Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Godwin has played all four years of his career for the Buccaneers, the team that drafted him in the third round of the 2017 draft. In that time, he’s developed into a strong receiving option. He’s caught 244 passes for 3,540 yards and 24 TDs. That includes going for 86 receptions, 1333 yards and nine TDs in 2019. The Super Bowl champs have repeatedly said they want to keep the core of the team intact and placing the tag on Godwin is a big part of that. Like Robinson, he figured to draw big interest. Also, like Robinson, being tagged doesn’t change Godwin’s value. He has WR1 potential, but I currently have him at WR13. He’ll be in a good offense that features another top WR in Mike Evans for at least another season.
Brandon Scherff, Guard, Washington Football Team: Washington moved to lock up Scherff, a key piece of the interior of the offensive line.
Cam Robinson, Left Tackle, Jacksonville Jaguars: This is a big off-season for the Jaguars, who hired Urban Meyer as coach and hold the No. 1 overall draft pick. Locking up Robinson ensures that whoever is quarterback, likely Trevor Lawrence, a key spot on the line is secure.
Taylor Moton, Right Tackle, Carolina Panthers: The Panthers are another team whose offense, particularly at quarterback, is in flux this off-season. Locking up Moton ensures a big piece of the protection puzzle remains in place in 20201.
Leonard Williams, Defensive Lineman, New York Giants: Williams came over to the Giants from the Jets via trade in 2019. He was, at one point, a Top 10 pick for the Jets in the 2015 draft. In a season and a half with the Giants, Williams has 12 sacks and batted down three passes, forcing a fumble and recovering a fumble. He’s a key cog for the Giants up front, and a player they didn’t want to lose.
Justin Simmons, Safety, Denver Broncos: Simmons got the tag from the Broncos for the second year in a row, the team that drafted him in the third round of the 2016 draft. The Broncos and new GM George Paton are committed to signing Simmons to a long-term deal, something John Elway failed to accomplish last off-season. Simmons, playing under the tag, had a career year in 2020. He recorded 96 tackles, five interceptions and nine passes defensed. He’s one of the best safeties in the game and a key piece of the Broncos’ defense.
Marcus Maye, Safety, New York Jets: Maye, taken in the second round of the 2017 draft, has been a key piece of the Jets’ defense. New coach Robert Saleh and GM Joe Douglas intend to keep it that way, applying the franchise tag. In four seasons, Maye has recorded 266 tackles, six INTs, 22 passes defensed, forced four fumbles and recorded 2.5 sacks.
Marcus Williams, Safety, New Orleans Saints: Williams, a second-round pick in 2017, received the franchise tag from the Saints. He’s been a force in the secondary since joining the saints, recording 246 tackles, 13 INTs and 30 passes defensed in four seasons. The Saints have questions at other positions, particularly quarterback, but locking up Williams ensures a key piece of the defensive secondary remains intact.
Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.