Tuesday is the first milestone of the NFL offseason. Let’s jump to that …
• That’s right, starting Tuesday, teams can apply the franchise tag to players. We don’t have the official numbers yet, because they are based on where the cap lands. But here are projections for a $ 180 million cap, a $ 183 million cap (that’s been the job number for some teams), and a $ 185 million cap.
Position by position for 180/183/185, all figures in millions:
QB: $ 24.76 / $ 25.17 / $ 25.45
WR: $ 15.76 / $ 16.03 / $ 16.02
RB: $ 8.54 / $ 8.68 / $ 8.78
TE: $ 9.47 / $ 9.63 / $ 9.73
OL: $ 13.57 / $ 13.79 / $ 13.94
FROM: $ 15.85 / $ 16.113 / $ 16.29
DT: $ 13.70 / $ 13.93 / $ 14.08
LB: $ 14.59 / $ 14.83 / $ 14.99
CB: $ 14.85 / $ 15.10 / $ 15.27
S: $ 10.47 / $ 10.64 / $ 10.76
Because the cap will be lower, and even taking inflation into account, all of those numbers are down (and some significantly) as of 2020. Which puts first-time tag candidates in different situations than they might be. tagged for the second time (such as Cowboys QB Dak Prescott, Broncos S Justin Simmons and Washington G Brandon Scherff), as those guys, as a rule, would be tagged at 120% of their 2020 tag number.
• Of those who go a second time, Prescott is more likely to receive a repeat tag. Both Denver and Washington want to keep their 2020 players tagged for the long term, and they are confident that they can, the question is whether another tag is the mechanism they will use to do so (I suppose it would be if such deals weren’t terminated before deadline of March 9). Prescott’s tag figure for 2021 is $ 37.691 million, Scherff’s is $ 15,981 million and Simmons’s is $ 13,792 million. Of the first-time candidates, I think Bucs WR Chris Godwin and Panthers OT Taylor Moton are likely to be tagged, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Lions WR Kenny Golladay meet the same fate. I’m a bit more in the air on Seahawks CB Shaquill Griffin, Packers RB Aaron Jones and Jets S Marcus Maye.
• And while we’re here, I wouldn’t expect a ton of news before the March 9 deadline (Tuesday is just when the window opens) to tag the guys. The reason teams wait? It allows some to keep the tag on two guys (Tampa would be an example, with Godwin and Shaq Barrett set to be free agents), and it keeps open the opportunity to tag a second guy if the guy who was designated for the tag initially gets a treatment. The caveat this year is that since the cap is likely to drop, it will be much more difficult for capital-limited teams (like Pittsburgh with Bud Dupree) to swallow the next year’s lump sum with a one-player franchise. .
• Fun fact former Chargers coach Mike McCoy told me last week that I’m not sure I’ve heard before: The famous Wildcat package was actually named after former Northwestern quarterback Brett Basanez. When McCoy was with the Panthers a decade and a half ago, Carolina revealed the look with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart executing the zone read. But initially, the idea came to build contingencies if Basanez, an optional quarterback in college and the third stringer behind Jake Delhomme and Chris Weinke, was forced to act. Basanez’s alma mater? Northwest. Hence the Wildcat. From there, Carolina OC Dan Henning went to Miami with him, and Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams put him on the cover in 2009, and they made the term (which is for a staffing package, rather than an outline appearance) a permanent part of our lexicon. And, of course, the Panthers coach responsible was John Fox, who ended up being the Broncos coach during the 2011 Tebowmania season, which is what McCoy and I were talking about on the phone, in the wake of Tim Tebow’s. retirement from baseball. “Yeah, we took advantage of what Tim did best, and that’s what it’s all about,” McCoy said. “The coaches, the players, everyone adjusted to what we did best, and Foxy got everyone involved. Everyone bought that style, not just Tim. And it was exciting, because it was always different, every week ”.
• Amid the turmoil of the Texans situation, a certain perception of general manager Nick Caserio has emerged among some people in the NFL that he is just “Bill Belichick, Scouting Edition.” And I don’t know if that is a fair image to paint. For me, an example that he doesn’t lie in who he chose to be his head coach: former Ravens assistant David Culley. Caserio has told people that he believes it takes a different, more unifying type of coach to reach the players and build the right culture than in generations past. That’s what Culley is, no doubt. So I think that, in at least one of the earliest examples of his tenure, and with the biggest decision he’s made to date, he’s shown that he can deviate from the path that was laid out for him during his first two decades in the NFL.
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• And while we’re there, here’s another point: Caserio has shown signs that he will be more inclusive with his scouts and coaches than New England was in the draft and free agent process. Caserio oversaw a department in Foxboro that dealt with an exodus of rising stars who didn’t feel sufficiently involved working for the Patriots. And while he was there, those around Caserio watched him evolve from a guy who was uptight and hyper-concerned about behaving like a Patriot, so to speak, early in his time as scouting chief (2009 to 2011) to someone who was much more comfortable in his own skin and a little less Belichickian, in the end. I have maintained all the time that Caserio, despite everything that went wrong, was a very good hire. And of course, given the situation that is brewing around Deshaun Watson, he will have to prove that he was.
• My friend Ian Rapoport from the NFL Network reported early Monday that Steelers coach Mike Tomlin was diagnosed with COVID-19, which was the impetus for the team to shut down its facilities as a precaution last week. As I understand it, it has also slowed down the team’s process of resolving the Ben Roethlisberger situation a bit. The parties, of course, have time to make some adjustment to their $ 19 million in 2021. But the longer it takes, the more time Pittsburgh has to pursue other options.
• Cam Newton did a very interesting interview in the I AM ATHLETE podcast with Brandon Marshall, Chad Ochocinco and Fred Taylor. And in it Newton came out of the door large open to return to New England. When asked if he would return to a one-year contract, Newton replied, “Hell yeah.” And as he explained his struggles, he spoke of Belichick and Josh McDaniels in rather reverential terms. I’d say this too: The Patriots have a full understanding of how a tight set of skill positions and the Tom Brady scheme fit handcuffed Newton in Year 1. So I’ll say it again: don’t discount Newton coming back for a second. back in Foxboro. I do not think I will return without competition. But I think based on the way it worked and how it fit into the culture, enough capital was bought into the building that if there wasn’t a clear upgrade available, the Patriots would look to bring it back.
• I really love this from new Lions coach Dan Campbell via MLive.com: “I told this to Chris [Spielman] I thought the other day, ‘I love the fact that we’re only known as heads of meat. Am I an airhead? Do I have limited brain capacity? I like it [that people think] that. I’m fine with that, you know what I mean? I do not have any problem with that. That whole press conference was literally for our team, our fans, the community, and the people who want Lions to succeed. … I want to be in Detroit. I want this job because I identify with this job. Are you talking about what looks like a glove? This thing fits me like no other, because I feel like I can relate to this. I understand, man. I think I’m a brave guy, you know? Without trying to honk my own horn, I just know who I am. ”This is very, very similar to what Campbell told me last month after his press conference, and it fits a lot with a principle that one of Campbell’s mentors, Bill Parcells, had: Don’t talk to the media, talk through the media. The idea was to have another audience in mind. And in his players and his new city, Campbell did.
• And to wrap up where we start, here are projections for the 2021 transition labels, if the cap hits the projected $ 183 million:
QB: $ 23.08 million
WR: $ 14.38 million
RB: $ 7.24 million
TE: $ 8.20 million
OL: $ 12.69 million
FROM: $ 13.97 million
DT: $ 11.78 million
LB: $ 12.75 million
CB: $ 13.33 million
S: $ 9.08 million