NFL teams are now officially allowed to use their franchise tags. Will the New England Patriots use theirs this season?
As the NFL offseason rolls on, the New England Patriots are now officially allowed to use their franchise tag on players. Using the franchise tag can be a very valuable tool for a team. If a team and player are unable to reach an agreement, the team can place the franchise tag on him in order to keep him under contract.
Just because a player has been given the tag, doesn’t mean that a team can’t work out a deal, as we see that happen frequently. The last time the Patriots used the franchise tag was back in 2015, on kicker Stephen Gostkowski. However, the two sides were able to work out a deal before the season started.
This offseason, the Patriots have a few notable free agents in Dion Lewis, Nate Solder, and Malcom Butler. To start things off, the Patriots likely have zero interest in bringing back Butler after benching him in the Super Bowl. Even though Butler has performed well for the Patriots overall, it seems like that relationship is over.
For Solder, he is coming off a somewhat down season due to injuries early on in 2017. Solder did perform well in the second half of the season, but placing the franchise tag on him would be very costly, as left tackles are paid big money. Even though Solder has been good for New England, he is not worthy of being paid like one of the best tackles in the league, even if it is just for a season.
At the running back position, Lewis should be one of the top priorities for the Patriots to try and re-sign. Lewis is coming off a great season in 2017, but tagging him would cost the Patriots about $12 million for next season.
With the window open to franchise tag players, don’t expect to see the Patriots use it again this offseason. Keeping as much money as possible open in free agency has been a plan of the Patriots, and don’t expect that to change this offseason.