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Looking at whether the Browns should use the franchise tag on anyone for 2021

We look at how much the franchise tag would cost on certain players, and whether the Browns should consider using it on them in 2021.

Indianapolis Colts v Cleveland Browns Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Starting back on February 23rd, teams were allowed to begin using the franchise or transition tag on players. Each team can only place the tag on one player, and the final day to use the tag is Tuesday, March 9th 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 17th.

The Cleveland Browns have 17 unrestricted free agents this year. None of those free agents are expected to be under consideration for the tag, especially with the salary cap being tighter this season. 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:

  • WR Rashard Higgins - $15.8 million
  • WR JoJo Natson - $15.8 million
  • WR Marvin Hall - $15.8 million
  • WR Taywan Taylor - $15.8 million
  • LT Kendall Lamm - $13.6 million
  • DE Olivier Vernon - $15.8 million
  • DT Larry Ogunjobi - $13.7 million
  • DT Vincent Taylor - $13.7 million
  • LB B.J. Goodson - $14.6 million
  • LB Malcolm Smith - $14.6 million
  • LB Elijah Lee - $14.6 million
  • S Andrew Sendejo - $10.5 million
  • S Karl Joseph - $10.5 million
  • S Tedric Thompson - $10.5 million
  • CB Terrance Mitchell - $14.9 million
  • CB Kevin Johnson - $14.9 million
  • K Cody Parkey - $4.4 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 projections by CBS Sports. The Browns could also attempt to use the transition tag on a player, which is about $2 million less than the transition tag.

Players to Consider

This was a year in which the Browns didn’t have any high-valued free agents. WR Rashard Higgins and LB B.J. Goodson are probably the most important players on the list to retain, but would be receiving small deals. The franchise tag would be useful if a guy like WR Odell Beckham Jr. or DE Myles Garrett were set to become a free agent; otherwise, it’s not being used. The cheapest usage of it would be for K Cody Parkey at $4.4 million, but again, he’s the type of player who is only going to get a minimum salary offer.