Top 2 candidates the Patriots could franchise tag for 2024 season

Jan 2, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger (23) reacts
Jan 2, 2022; Foxborough, Massachusetts, USA; New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger (23) reacts / David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Now that the Super Bowl is done and the 2023 season is officially in the rearview mirror, all the focus has shifted to the 2024 offseason. We are now just over three weeks away from the start of free agency, which will inevitably be an exciting time for the Patriots this year, but they can get a head start on their roster building on Tuesday this week, as the window to franchise tag players opens.

Typically, there wasn't a lot of action at this point under Bill Belichick, who rarely tagged players during his 24 years in New England.

Although that's not necessarily a bad thing, it may need to be utilized this year with Jerod Mayo stepping into a new role, mainly because there are a handful of players heading to free agency that would be devastating to lose.

Franchise tagging ensures they lock them down for one more year, allowing the player and team to work on a contract extension throughout the season.

Given the list of those who will be testing the market next month, a few seem like the most likely candidates to be considered for tagging.

The top 2 candidates the Patriots could franchise tag for the 2024 season

Kyle Dugger - safety

  • Franchise tag value: $17.22 million

The most probable player is easily Kyle Dugger, who is among the most desirable free agents for teams this offseason. The safety will be testing free agency for the first time in his career this year, but Mayo should do all he can to keep him in New England for a long time.

Dugger has become a pillar of the Patriots' defense over the last four years, quickly rising in the rankings as one of the best at the position in the league.

Because he is considered one of the best safeties to be available this offseason, he will likely have many teams pursue him, offering big-money contracts in hopes of swaying him to sign with them. It won't be easy for the Patriots to keep him around, but guaranteeing him over $17 million for one season might do the trick.

Mike Onwenu - offensive lineman/tackle

  • Franchise tag value: $21.72 million

It may not be an ideal scenario, given how much they'd have to pay him for one season, but Mike Onwenu's importance to the Patriots deems this worthy of the price tag.

Because there is so much uncertainty with the offensive line since Trent Brown will also be a free agent, Onwenu being tagged and then working out an extension is a no-brainer, especially with the offense as a priority of improvement this offseason.

He has become the best lineman on the team and is expected to only get better in the coming years, which only adds to his value for the Patriots and the teams that hope to sign him.

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