Ranking NFC West Teams’ Chances to Use a Franchise Tagby Andersen Pickard March 4, 2019 5 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 West.
Top Candidate: Frank Clark
Chance of Being Tagged: 85%
Frank Clark is by far the most likely candidate to get hit with the franchise tag. In fact, the former second-round pick and his agent actually said they would be okay with the tag.
Clark, 25, had a strong final year of his rookie contract. He started all 16 of the games that he played in, appearing in 73 percent of snaps and making 14 sacks and 42 tackles while forcing four fumbles and recording his first career interception.
Clark is valued at $15.5 million per year and is projected to sign a four-year, $62.8 million contract, which is cheaper than the $17,128,000 franchise tag. However, as many teams often do, the tag could be used as a placeholder as the sides negotiate a new contract.
Los Angeles Rams
Top Candidate: Rodger Saffold
Chance of Being Tagged: 30%
Of the few players with a chance of being franchise tagged in Los Angeles, Saffold is the most likely. The offensive lineman started all 16 games while playing in 1,068 (97 percent) of his team’s snaps.
However, Saffold has informed the team that he will give the Rams a discount if it means he doesn’t have to play under the franchise tag, so it is likely that Saffold signs a three-year deal in the $20 million range.
Chance of Being Tagged: 100%
The San Francisco 49ers were the first team to announce they were using their franchise tag, as they announced the use of the free agency tool on Robbie Gould in late February.
Gould will earn $4,971,000 in 2019 under the tag, as he hopes to replicate his fantastic 2019 season that had him make 33 of his 34 field goal attempts, and 27 of his 29 extra points.
Top Candidate: Mike Iupati
Chance of Being Tagged: 5%
The Arizona Cardinals are not going to place the franchise tag on anybody. Of their large class of impending free agents, none of them are worthy of a hefty price tag to keep them in Arizona for a season.
When a team isn’t going to franchise tag anybody, you can turn around the theory of the franchise tag and look at it this way: if the team was forced to use their franchise tag, who would it be placed on?
To be honest, that didn’t help me make this decision that much, but in the end, I’d go with offensive lineman Mike Iupati, the former first-round pick out of Idaho.
In 2018, he started all 10 of the games he played in, recording 478 snaps. Obviously not franchise tag worthy, but I had to pick someone.