Here’s how much it would cost the Bills to franchise tag anyone, but don’t expect them to
The Buffalo Bills don’t often use the franchise tag and don’t expect the team to add to that short list in the coming days.
Since the tag’s inception in 1993, only five players have been tagged by the Bills, that list includes offensive lineman John Fina (1996), wide receiver Peerless Price (2003), cornerback Nate Clements (2006), safety Jairus Byrd (2013), and offensive lineman Cordy Glenn (2014).
Simply put, Buffalo does not have a player among their 18 free agents that warrants the tag. Of Buffalo’s free agents, many are either backups or specialists for the team.
Four would be considered starters: wide receiver Jordan Matthews, linebacker Preston Brown, defensive tackle Kyle Williams and the top of the group, cornerback EJ Gaines.
Gaines came to the Bills via trade with the Los Angeles Rams prior to the season. He was the fourth and final piece of the revamped secondary for the Bills, which also included safeties Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, along with rookie corner Tre’Davious White.
Despite a strong season by Gaines, which included 59 tackles, one interception, and nine passes defended in 11 games played, the corner is not worth the estimated tag of $15.04 million for his position.
Spotrac has Gaines’ estimated value at $9.3 million. Spotrac also estimates Brown’s value at $8.4 million. That tag estimation is according to Albert Breer of MMQB.
Other positional totals for the tag, which is based on the five-year average cap percentage for each position, are:
Defensive end: $17.22 million
Defensive tackle: $14 million
Linebacker: $15.03 million
Offensive line: $14.14 million
Kicker/ punter: $4.96
Running back: $11.9 million
Safety: $11.34 million
Tight end: $9.90 million
Wide receiver: $16.05 million
& Quarterback: $23.29 million.
Teams can only tag their own player and the window to tag players begins on Tuesday until March 6 at 4 p.m. July 16 is the deadline for teams to negotiate a long-term deal with players, as the tag is only for one season.
There are three types of franchise tag, the exclusive (player cannot negotiate with other teams), the non-exclusive (negotiation allow but team can match or get two first-round picks if the player leaves), and transition tag (player gets tagged by team for the average of top-10 salaries & is allowed to negotiate, but no compensation is awarded).
The Bills would shock its fan base by using the tag on anyone, as the team has just under $30 million in cap space. Eric Wood’s sudden retirement due to a neck injury could also cost the team another $10 million, depending how the two sides work out the situation.