Ranking NFC East Teams’ Chances to Use a Franchise Tag

Ranking NFC East Teams’ Chances to Use a Franchise Tag

by March 4, 2019 2 comments

The period for teams to place a franchise tag on any impending free agent opened in the middle of February and ends tomorrow.

This eight-part series will go division by division looking at the possibility that a team will place a franchise tag on their most worthy player.

Without further ado, here goes the NFC East.

Dallas Cowboys

Top Candidate: Demarcus Lawrence
Chance of Being Tagged: 45%

The situation regarding Demarcus Lawrence and the Cowboys is an interesting one. Lawrence was franchise tagged last offseason, but only agreed to sign the tender if the Cowboys guaranteed him he wouldn’t be tagged again.

Lawrence is aiming to make [the 2018] franchise tag season his last, playing out the year on the one-year deal with the goal of earning a long-term contract with the Cowboys and a firm refusal to play 2019 on a second consecutive tag.

— Nick Shook, Around the NFL

However, could Lawrence agree to sign the franchise tag this year if it comes with a new guarantee: that Lawrence and the Cowboys have to agree to a new multi-year contract before training camp, or else Lawrence holds out? It may be a stretch, but it is still quite possible.

Lawrence started all but one of the 16 games he played in in 2018, making 10.5 sacks and 64 tackles while forcing three fumbles and recording his first career interception. Lawrence is a likely tag candidate, with the tag being $17,128,000 and his value being $2.5 million greater than that, but will it happen? Time will tell.

New York Giants

Top Candidate: Landon Collins
Chance of Being Tagged: 60%

Landon Collins is another interesting franchise tag candidate. The former second-round pick is set to hit free agency for the first time in his career and is valued at $2 million below his franchise tag value.

But, New York wants to keep him, and the franchise tag could be a placeholder for a new deal. Collins started all 12 of the games he played in last season, making 96 tackles and forcing a fumble.

By the minute, it seems less and less likely that Collins gets tagged, but this will definitely be something to monitor as the 4:00 p.m. deadline on Tuesday approaches.

Washington Redskins

Top Candidate: Ha Ha Clinton-Dix

Chance of Being Tagged: 20%

Ha Ha Clinton-Dix came over to the nation’s capital at the trade deadline in a trade with the Green Bay Packers, and although he isn’t expected to get hit with the franchise tag, he is still the most likely candidate.

Clinton-Dix is expected to earn just shy of $10 million in free agency, while a franchise tag would cost Washington just $1.2 million more. But is it worth it? Clinton-Dix has started every game since the start of the 2015 season. In 2018, he picked up a sack and 92 tackles while forcing two fumbles and intercepting two passes.

So, yeah, he could be worth it, but you have to consider the direction of the franchise. With that in mind, it seems like Clinton-Dix will hit free agency.

Philadelphia Eagles

Top Candidate: Ronald Darby
Chance of Being Tagged: 40%

With Nick Foles set to hit free agency, it seemed like the Philadelphia Eagles weren’t going to franchise tag anyone. Although that is still likely the case, don’t rule out Philly using the tool on cornerback Ronald Darby.

Darby missed nearly half of his team’s games over the last two seasons due to injuries but performed well when he did play. Through 17 games (16 starts) over the last two campaigns, he made 77 tackles and picked off four passes, appearing in 924 snaps.

Foles won’t be tagged. Darby probably won’t, either.

But, you never know.

Andersen is a teenage sportswriter and reporter whose articles have appeared across the Prime Time Sports Talk, Sports Illustrated Kids, FantasyPros, and SB Nation platforms. He has also received credit from RotoWorld, CBS Sports, ESPN, Bleacher Report, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, The Athletic, SB Nation, NBC Sports, NY Post, and dozens of other sports sites for his reporting work.

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