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The NFL’s franchise tag and transition tag window will officially open today, but it’s unlikely that Kansas City Chiefs will use either this year. If they don’t, this will be the first time in the past two seasons that they haven’t used a tag.
In 2019, the Chiefs franchise tagged Dee Ford before trading him to the San Francisco 49ers. Last season they had a clear candidate for the franchise tag with star defensive tackle Chris Jones. Brett Veach essentially used the franchise tag as a tactic to buy time to reach a long-term contract agreement with Jones and his agents.
This year, while the team has a number of free agents, they don’t have any clear uses for the franchise and transition tag. If you look at the top offensive free agent, Sammy Watkins, the franchise tag would cost approximately $16 million. That’s far too rich for what the Chiefs can afford to offer Watkins. The same goes for their top defensive free agent in Daniel Sorensen. The franchise tag for a safety this year is expected to be over $11 million.
While the Chiefs aren’t expected to use the franchise or transition tag this season, other teams will certainly use it and that could impact the Chiefs’ plans in free agency. Just the fact of certain players being taken off the market could make it harder to acquire a player at a position of need in free agency. Some names to watch include Bears WR Allen Robinson, Lions WR Kenny Golladay, Bills LB Matt Milano, Jaguars OT Cam Robinson and Washington OG Brandon Scherff.
The league delayed the franchise tag window twice last year due to CBA negotiations. This time around everything is starting on time with the window opening today and ending on March 9 at 3:00 p.m. CT.