The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to decide whether or not to use the franchise tag this offseason, and if so who will get tagged?
With the start of free agency right around the corner, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to start making decisions about who will be part of the team’s plan next season and beyond.
Right now the only decisions that seem to have been made are ones about players who won’t be here anymore. Leonard Fournette and Cameron Brate have been given pink slips, with Donovan Smith a likely candidate to be released as well.
All of this is to both churn the roster but also get the team back under the salary cap. Right now the Bucs need to shed about $55 million, but that figure will be lower with the departures of Fournette, Brate, and others.
But who will stay?
Free agency isn’t the only thing with a clock ticking on it right now, as the franchise tag deadline is quickly approaching.
When is the NFL franchise tag deadline 2023?
This year the NFL franchise tag deadline is at 4:00 p.m. ET on Tuesday, March 7. Teams will have until then to decide how to use the tag, or whether to use it at all. It’s not a requirement that a franchise uses the tag, but it’s in their best interest to do so on top free agents who they need more time to work out a long term deal with.
Free agency will open on March 15, with the legal tampering period starting 52 hours earlier on Monday night.
What are the franchise tag values in 2023?
There are a few different tags that teams can use, the most common of which are the exclusive and non-exclusive tags.
The exclusive tag means a tagged player can’t negotiate with another team and has to play the one year contract with the team he’s on now, while the non-exclusive tag means the player can negotiate with another team and a trade can be made to get him there.
If nothing happens, though, the player players next season on a one-year contract at 120 percent increase of Prior Year Salary.
Here’s how much each position will cost using the non-exclusive tag this offseason:
- QB: $32.416 million
- RB: $10.091 million
- WR: $19.743 million
- TE: $11.345 million
- OL: $18.244 million
- DE: $19.727 million
- DT: $18.937 million
- LB: $20.926 million
- CB: $18.140 million
- S: $14.460 million
- K/P: $5.393 million
Will Buccaneers use franchise tag in 2023?
The Bucs have used the franchise tag each of the last three seasons, tagging two different players over the course of that time. Shaq Barrett was tagged after the Super Bowl season in 2020 before being given a long term deal shortly after, while Chris Godwin was tagged in back-to-back seasons after that.
Godwin also agreed to a long term deal not long after being tagged, which bodes well for the Bucs being able to retain whoever they use the tag on rather than keeping them here for another year before losing them.
That’s the situation the Baltimore Ravens appear to be running into with Lamar Jackson, but Tampa Bay has managed to both avoid that sort of situation and use the tag strategically to keep key pieces of the roster here.
Not for nothing but they team hasn’t been in a position to use the tag on a quarterback, which remain a bridge yet to be crossed.
This offseason, with cash being an issue, the Bucs might end up passing on using the tag for the first time in a while. That doesn’t mean there aren’t candidates who could get the tag if Tampa Bay decides to use it.
Most notably, Jamel Dean’s impending free agency is something that is dictating how the team proceeds this offseason. Much has been made about the quarterback situation, but Dean’s departure is being baked into the way experts are predicting the Bucs use their first round pick this year, which highlights how important he’s been to the team.
That being said, he’s be getting paid a reasonable salary and the 120 percent pay raise would bring him to around $5.5M, which isn’t that hard to stomach.
The question is whether he’ll want a long term deal somewhere else and if a team is willing to give it to him? The answer the that seems to be yes, since he’s a top-rated free agent, but history shows the Bucs are able to retain players on long term deals after giving them the tag.