Ranking NFC North Teams’ Chances to Use a Franchise Tagby Andersen Pickard March 4, 2019 0 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 North.
Top Candidate: Anthony Barr
Chance of Being Tagged: 55%
Anthony Barr is certainly not a lock to be franchise tagged, but that route definitely remains a possibility for Minnesota.
For the first time in his career, Barr could hit free agency. He has publicly stated that he would love to return to Minnesota but also knows his value and will ultimately do what is best for him and his family. He may not have a choice, though: he could be hit with the $15,443,000 franchise tag.
Barr made three sacks and 55 tackles while also forcing a fumble in 13 starts in 2018. He is a valuable asset for any team, and if he sneaks into the open market, he will attract lots of interest.
Green Bay Packers
Top Candidate: Clay Matthews
Chance of Being Tagged: 25%
Former first-round draft pick Clay Matthews is set to hit the open market for the first time in his long, storied career.
Matthews started all 16 games last year, appearing in 756 snaps and making 43 tackles and three-and-a-half sacks while forcing two fumbles.
Rest assured, Packers fans. Matthews will likely return to Green Bay next season, but probably not under a franchise tag.
Chance of Being Tagged: 30%
Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah spent the 2018 season playing under a one-year deal after he avoided having to sign a franchise tender last offseason. A similar situation returns as Ansah could be tagged, but the outcome is definitely up in the air.
Ansah was injured for most of the 2018 season, and when he was healthy, it wasn’t enough to put him in a starting role. Of the seven games he played in last season, he started only two. He played in just 149 snaps, recording four sacks and just 11 tackles.
Given the uncertainty going forward, expect Ansah to make it to the open market, and don’t expect him to return to Detroit next season.
Top Candidate: Ronald Darby
Chance of Being Tagged: 40%
The Bears are in a decent situation to use a franchise tag, but there are not any candidates who stick out as absolute “must-tag” guys.
Free safety Adrian Amos’s name has come up the most in conversations linking the Bears and the franchise tag. Amos started all 16 of the games he played in last season, appearing in 98 percent of his team’s snaps (a total of 1,028 plays). He picked up one random sack while making 73 tackles and interception two passes.
Amos, a former fifth-round selection, is set to be a free agent for the first time in his career and will certainly attract interest and attention. If the Bears cannot reach an agreement with him on an extension, it would be wise of them to use the $11,150,000 franchise tag as a placeholder.