NFL franchise tag tracker: Chris Godwin, Davante Adams get tagged

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Two of the biggest wide receivers in the NFL won't hit the free-agent market in 2021. Davante Adams and Chris Godwin both reportedly received the franchise tags from their teams prior to the Tuesday deadline.

NFL teams have until Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET to assign a franchise tag to a player. Individuals who receive the franchise tag will remain under contract with their team at a high salary. Tagged players typically receive a salary equal to the average salary of the top-5 highest-paid players at their position.

Teams can designate whether the player receives an exclusive or non-exclusive franchise tag. A player who receives an exclusive franchise tag can only negotiate a deal with the team that tagged him. Players who receive the non-exclusive franchise tag can negotiate with other teams, but their original team has the opportunity to match an offer the player receives in free agency. If the team doesn't match, it receives draft-pick compensation for the player leaving.

Teams usually use the franchise tag on players who would command a big contract on the market. Some teams use the tag as a way to keep those players for an additional season. Other teams will use the franchise tag as a temporary solution while the team works out a long-term extension with that player.

Buccaneers tag Chris Godwin despite injury

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are confident Chris Godwin will bounce back from an ACL injury. The team reportedly tagged Godwin prior to the Tuesday deadline, according to Ian Rapoport of NFL Network.

Godwin, 26, was in the midst of another excellent season when he tore his ACL in Week 15. The injury kept Godwin out during the Bucs' playoff run. Godwin expects to return and play in 2022. Prior to the injury, Godwin gained 1,103 yards and scored 5 touchdowns in 14 games.

Godwin was in line for a massive contract extension prior to the injury. The Bucs reportedly want to keep Godwin long term, but could not come to an agreement Tuesday. The team opted to place the franchise tag on Godwin instead, but intend to continue negotiating a long-term deal to keep him around.

Chris Godwin with the Buccaneers.
Chris Godwin will reportedly return to Tampa Bay in 2022. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

Packers able to keep Davante Adams

The best receiver in the NFL isn't going anywhere. The Green Bay Packers reportedly placed the franchise tag on Davante Adams on Tuesday, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

The team was always expected to tag Adams. The Packers weren't going to let the best receiver in the game leave for nothing.

With news of Aaron Rodgers' reported extension, the move now reunites Adams and Rodgers for at least one more season. The Rodgers deal — which hasn't been signed yet — will reportedly open up cap space for the Packers, making the Adams decision easier.

Adams, 29, will make roughly $18 million under the tag next season, but will likely seek a much larger extension. Whether the Packers can accommodate Adams and Rodgers long-term remains a major question.

Davante Adams with the Packers.
Davante Adams will reportedly be back with the Packers. (Photo by Scott W. Grau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Cowboys tag tight end Dalton Schultz

The Dallas Cowboys liked what they saw from Dalton Schultz in 2021. The team placed the franchise tag on Schultz on Tuesday. It did not specify whether Schultz received an exclusive or non-exclusive tag.

Schultz, 25, emerged as a dependable target for quarterback Dak Prescott in 2021. Schultz hauled in a career-high 78 passes for 808 yards and 8 touchdowns. If Schultz plays under the franchise tag, he'll receive a salary near $11 million in 2022.

Dalton Schultz with the Cowboys.
Dalton Schultz is sticking with the Cowboys for another year. (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

Mike Gesicki gets franchise tag from Dolphins

The Miami Dolphins are hoping Mike Gesicki can build on his success from last season. The team gave Gesicki the franchise tag Tuesday, signaling they want him back in 2022.

Gesicki, 26, hauled in a career-high 73 catches for 780 yards last season. Gesicki, who was drafted by the Dolphins in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft, has 2,255 yards and 13 scores since joining the team. The Dolphins did not specify whether Gesicki received an exclusive or non-exclusive tag.

Gesicki will make roughly $11 million if he plays under the tight end franchise tag in 2022.

Mike Gesicki with the Dolphins.
Mike Gesicki was tagged by the Dolphins. (Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

David Njoku becomes first franchise tagged player in 2022

The Cleveland Browns still believe David Njoku can become a star tight end. The team tagged Njoku on Monday, ensuring he will be one of the highest-paid tight ends in football.

Njoku was selected by the Browns with the No. 29 pick in the 2017 NFL draft. He's played 65 games with the team, amassing 148 catches for 1,754 yards and 17 touchdowns.

The franchise tag should allow Njoku, 25, to return to the team on a one-year deal worth nearly $11 million, per Spotrac. Njoku has expressed a desire to remain with the Browns long-term, so it's possible the tag is a precursor to a bigger deal. The Browns did not specify whether Njoku received an exclusive or non-exclusive tag.

The Browns still have Austin Hooper under contract, though Kevin Stefanski's offense relies on two tight ends.

David Njoku will return to the Browns in 2022. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
David Njoku will return to the Browns in 2022. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Bengals designate Jessie Bates III as franchise player

The Cincinnati Bengals became the second team to allocate a franchise tag Monday, tagging safety Jessie Bates III.

Bates, 25, was selected by the Bengals in the second round of the 2018 NFL draft. He's started all but two games since joining the team, and has 10 interceptions over his career. After a solid start to his career, Bates received national recognition in 2020, making the 2nd team All-Pro team after registering 15 passes defended, 109 tackles and 3 interceptions.

The Bengals did not specify whether Bates received an exclusive or non-exclusive franchise tag. If he plays under the tag, Bates will make roughly $13 million next season, per Spotrac.

Jessie Bates III with the Bengals.
Jessie Bates III has started all but two games since joining the Bengals. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

Chiefs reportedly tag LT Orlando Brown Jr.

The Kansas City Chiefs have placed the franchise tag on left tackle Orlando Brown Jr., NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports. Selected by the Baltimore Ravens in the third round of the 2018 draft, Brown has emerged as one of the NFL's best blindside blockers, making the Pro Bowl in three of his four seasons.

The Chiefs traded for Brown last offseason following a Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that exposed issues on the offensive line. Kansas City sent Baltimore a package that included first-, third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks in exchange for Brown and second- and sixth-round picks in return. Brown was expendable in Baltimore due to the presence of All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley.

Brown started 16 games in his first season in Kansas City en route to his third straight Pro Bowl nod. He's due $16.5 million under the franchise tag in 2022 unless the two sides work out a longterm deal prior to the July 15 deadline.