Do the Bears have any franchise tag candidates in 2023?
The NFL’s franchise tag window is officially open.
It marks the first day NFL teams can place the franchise or transition tag on players with expiring contracts. The last day to place a tag on a player is March 7.
Teams that utilize a tag have until mid-July to work out a long-term deal with a player. If there is no deal agreed upon, the player will play out the 2023 season on that one-year tag.
There are some notable names who could land the franchise tag, including Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson, Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown and Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
With that in mind, do the Bears have any tag candidates?
Simply put: No.
The closest thing would be running back David Montgomery, who’s set to hit free agency next month. Montgomery, a former third-round pick in the 2019 NFL draft, has been a staple on Chicago’s offense.
Last season, Montgomery was the Bears’ second-leading rusher (801 yards) behind quarterback Justin Fields (1,143).
There is a mutual interest between both parties when it comes to Montgomery returning to Chicago. But we’ve heard that before (i.e. Roquan Smith), which means it’s all about finding common ground on an extension.
While the Bears would love Montgomery back, running backs are a dime a dozen in this league. The franchise tag for running backs is over $10 million while the transition tag is north of $8 million, per Spotrac. So you have to imagine Chicago will either choose to work out an affordable deal with Montgomery or let him test the free agent market.
The Bears previously used the franchise tag on wide receiver Allen Robinson in 2021. The two sides were unable to get a deal done, and Robinson played out his final year in Chicago before signing with the Rams in 2022.