The NFL opened the window for the franchise tag on Tuesday, but the Los Angeles Rams won’t be one of the teams using it. In maybe one far off scenario, the Rams decide to tag kicker Matt Gay, but L.A. can’t afford the $5.4 million that it would take to do that. If the Rams feel so strongly about Gay, then they absolutely must work out on a contract extension prior to March free agency.
The $5.4 million is too much for L.A. to spend on a kicker. But what’s interesting, although it also isn’t likely to come into play, is that the Rams won’t even be allowed to talk to any players who get the franchise tag this year.
Starting today, NFL teams can designate their Franchise or Transition Players.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) February 21, 2023
Franchise tag candidates include Lamar Jackson, Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley, Geno Smith, Tony Pollard, Dalton Schultz, Orlando Brown Jr., Jessie Bates, Daron Payne and Josh Jacobs.
As usual, the Rams do not have a first round pick. Without a first round pick, the Rams can’t negotiate with any tagged players because by rule the necessary trade negotiations are meant to center around two first round picks with players who get the non-exclusive tag. So unless L.A. manages to negotiate a deal with Jalen Ramsey going to another team, they don’t have the chips to talk to tagged players.
Get dreams of Orlando Brown or Josh Jacobs out of your head, if those players are tagged by their respective teams.
In the NFC West, the Seattle Seahawks are thought to be ready to use the tag on quarterback Geno Smith, if they can’t come to an agreement before the March 7 deadline. However, the Seahawks would be sacrificing all of their remaining camp room—and then some—if they gave Smith the $32.4 million franchise tag for a quarterback. Tagging any players has rarely been the M.O. for head coach Pete Carroll and a year ago, Seattle opted to trade Russell Wilson rather than discuss another contract extension. Therefore, it could be a stretch to expect the Seahawks to bring back Geno Smith at anything less than a contract extension that comes in below the expected market value.
Similarly, the Giants and Daniel Jones are thought to be at an impasse, but a franchise tag sounds more likely in New York than in Seattle. If the Giants can extend Jones before March 7, they could then apply the tag to Saquon Barkley, but there are rumors that New York doesn’t want to pay him that much ($10.1m for running backs) next season.
Lamar Jackson, Brown, and Da’Ron Payne sound guaranteed to be tagged. The 49ers and Cardinals shouldn’t have players who get tagged either. Geno Smith may be the only question mark in the division.