NFL franchise tag deadline winners, losers: Who emerged from 2024 deadline with advantage?

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NFL franchise tag deadline winners, losers: Who emerged from 2024 deadline with advantage?:-Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET was the last day for NFL teams to use the franchise or transition tag on one of their upcoming free agents. All but one of the nine players who were tagged had the non-exclusive brand version. On that list is Jacksonville Jaguars OLB Josh Allen, Brian Burns (OLB for the Carolina Panthers), Kyle Dugger (DB for the New England Patriots) (transition tag), Tee Higgins (WR for the Cincinnati Bengals), Johnson (CB for the Chicago Bears), Madubuike (DT for the Baltimore Ravens), Pittman Jr. (WR for the Indianapolis Colts), Sneed (CB for the Kansas City Chiefs), and Winfield Jr. (FS for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).

NFL franchise tag deadline winners, losers: Who emerged from 2024 deadline with advantage?

They all have until July 15 to sign long-term extensions with their current teams. During that time, any of them could be traded or untagged, which would let them go on the free agent market. If they don’t, they will have to play the 2024 season on a tag’s guaranteed one-year tender, which is based on the player’s position.

But the tags can have effects on a lot more than just the players who wear them. This is especially true since the free agency window opens on Monday. Here are the people who won and lost at Tuesday’s tag deadline:


Baker Mayfield

Even though he played well for the NFC South winner Tampa Bay Buccaneers last year, he wasn’t going to get the $38.3 million franchise tag that quarterbacks get in 2024. But the Buccaneers took care of their rather large business in a different way. They signed Winfield after extending WR Mike Evans’ contract for two years on Monday. With most of the team’s core players still there, Tampa Bay should be able to win their fourth straight division title next season, as long as general manager Jason Licht can work out a deal with Mayfield, ideally before he can go out and sign with another team.

This is the first time that the Bengals’ top wide receiver can get a long-term contract. He has been to the Pro Bowl each of his first three seasons. It’s rare for receivers to get their first big pay check after Year 3 (see Justin Jefferson), but Chase is in a good place. He might get paid in a few weeks or months. If not, he knows that quarterback Joe Burrow will be fit again in 2024 and that Higgins will also be back. This means that teams probably can’t keep rolling coverage at Chase without paying a lot of money. With the pay cap going up all the time, having another big year would mean even more money in 2025.

Wide receivers

The second best player on Cincinnati’s offense is Higgins. Pittman just had his best season (career-high 109 catches for 1,152 yards), but he has always been a solid chain mover and not one of the best players at his position. But both are now just outside the top 10 in terms of wide receivers’ pay, and each will make at least the $21.8 million the tag will give them in 2024. This is a good sign of faith from Cincinnati and Indianapolis, given how deep the receiver class was this year. Of all the attacking players, only the quarterback tag pays more.

Outside linebackers

Things are even better for Allen and Burns. After being signed, both pass rushers will make at least $24 million next season. Out of all the stars, only the quarterback tag pays more.

Tua Tagovailoa

It’s still possible for the Miami Dolphins to re-sign trusted defensive tackle Christian Wilkins before next Monday, but it doesn’t look likely. The team is clearing the decks for what should be a huge payday for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, who just got back from his first Pro Bowl appearance after leading the NFL with 4,624 passing yards in 2023. Even though they let go of CB Xavien Howard, LB Jerome Baker, and DE Emmanuel Ogbah, the Fins still need to cut more of their salary cap. There is a good chance that Tua will pass Burrow ($55 million a year) as the highest-paid quarterback in the league based on average seasonal pay.

NFL franchise tag deadline winners, losers: Who emerged from 2024 deadline with advantage?

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Kansas City Chiefs

For now, they decide what will happen to Sneed and have given the rising cover man the power to look for a deal. There is a strong chance that All-Pro DT Chris Jones will stay in Kansas City with the league’s newest power… But soon, 31 other teams might be able to float a big enough bag to make him change his mind.

Houston Texans

They struck a three-year pact to retain TE Dalton Schultz on Tuesday but didn’t use the opportunity to tag popular DE Jonathan Greenard, who had a career- and team-high 12½ sacks for the AFC South champs in 2023. He now likely gets exposed to numerous suitors.


Tua Tagovailoa

As Tagovailoa’s rookie deal comes to an end, the Dolphins are trading away defensive mainstays and maybe even more to get him for cheap. This comes after the team has failed to make the playoffs without or with him for the past two seasons. It’s not likely to get any easier for Miami to end its 23-year playoff winless streak, which is the longest in the league.

Kyle Dugger

In fact, the Patriots name him as a “DB” on their official roster. They might as well, since Dugger played more than 200 snaps last season at corner, either wide or in the slot. On Tuesday, though, he was given the less-paying transition tag and put in as a safety, where he did play more than 800 snaps in 2023. The tag for Dugger is worth $13.8 million, which is $3.3 million less than the tag for a safety. He would have been due closer to $18 million if the Patriots had given him a franchise tag, which has been done in the past when a player plays more than one position. According to Over The Cap, the Patriots have the most cap room in the AFC, with almost $90 million.

Running backs

In 2024, their salary went up to $11.95 million, which is almost $2 million more than the previous year. However, it is still the lowest of any group save expert. But not a single back was marked before what should be a strong market for buyers. Seven runners who had more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage in 2023 are set to go free. They are Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants, Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders, and Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys. All three were franchised in 2023, with Barkley and Jacobs being upset about it. The other runners are Derrick Henry of the Tennessee Titans, D’Andre Swift of the Philadelphia Eagles, Devin Singletary of the Houston Texans, and Austin Ekeler of the Los Angeles Chargers. Gus Edwards of the Ravens had 990 yards. Kack Moss of the Colts had 986 yards in 14 games. These players are now entering a market that might be even less fair than the tag game, since teams usually don’t want to pay proven backs when they can easily get good ones in the draft or sign cheap contracts with less-talented vets.

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