Starting on Tuesday, February 20th, teams are eligible to begin using the franchise (or transition) tag. Each team can only place the tag on one player, and the final day to use the tag is Tuesday, March 6th before 4:00 PM ET. After that, if the team can’t reach an agreement on a new contract with the player, they will hit the free agent market on March 14th.
The Cleveland Browns have four unrestricted free agents this year. The only player who would even remotely have a chance of the tag being used on him is RB Isaiah Crowell, and even that would be laughable. Nonetheless, it’s an annual tradition to still evaluate the use of the tag, so let’s take a look at how much it would cost to utilize the franchise tag on each free agent:
- RB Isaiah Crowell - $11.90 million
- OL Marcus Martin - $14.14 million
- DE Lavar Edwards - $14.00 million
- ILB Tank Carder - $15.03 million
The figures above represent a non-exclusive franchise tag (which I will refer to as the franchise tag from here on out), which is the most commonly used tag. If the Browns slap the franchise tag on a player, the player can still negotiate with other teams. If another team signs the player to an offer sheet, Cleveland would have five days to match the offer. If they do not match the offer, the Browns are compensated nicely with two first-round draft picks. That’s why teams rarely sign a player who is franchised -- nobody wants to part with two first-round picks.
The franchise tag figures are accurate under the assumption of a $178 million cap, and the numbers are courtesy of Albert Breer of The MMQB.
Using the Tag on RB Isaiah Crowell
I’ve already said that I’d place money on Crowell not signing a new deal in Cleveland. The Browns could trap him with the tag if they wanted to, but they aren’t that invested in Crowell. They could get away with a lesser one-year salary using the transition tag, but again, we’re talking about a pretty unrealistic scenario here. The Browns have plenty of draft picks to find a new running back, and are likely more interested in extending RB Duke Johnson soon.
Also, only 27% of fans are even interested in the Browns re-signing Crowell, let along tagging him. The one upside if that the running back position is the cheapest non-special teams tags.
Should the Browns re-sign RB Isaiah Crowell?
This poll is closed
The Browns should not use the franchise tag on anybody this year. Talk to us in 2019 if either LT Joe Thomas or RB Duke Johnson are still pending free agents.