Reasons why the Bills are unlikely to use the franchise tag as window opens

The window for NFL teams to use the franchise tag on players is now open until March 7.

Teams hold all the power in the decision, as a club can slap it on any player that’s set to be a free agent. The twist? It’s costly.

There are a few types of tags a team can place on a player. To make it simple, we’ll just put them all under the same umbrella. Each of them makes a player one of the highest paid at their individual position in the NFL, essentially.

Regarding the Buffalo Bills this spring, the team has over 20 pending free agents. Considering how much it costs to tag a player, it would only be used on a starter.

That leaves only a handful of players in contention for it. The top three would be linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, safety Jordan Poyer, and running back Devin Singletary. Starting left guard Rodger Saffold also falls under the same umbrella in terms of starting status, but his level of play does not.

In terms of the top three, it is still very unlikely general manager Brandon Beane pulls the trigger for a variety of reasons.

Here’s a quick rundown of those:

The Bills have rarely ever used it

Bills tackle Cordy Glenn. Credit: Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

There has only been five times the Bills have used the franchise tag in the team’s history. The most-recent usage was in 2016 on offensive lineman Cordy Glenn.

For those knowing dates in Bills history...

Bills general manager Brandon Beane (AP Photo/Jeffrey T. Barnes)

For those aware of when Beane and head coach Sean McDermott were hired: The year was 2017. That means during their now lengthy tenure in charge in Buffalo, the team has never used the franchise tag.

Previously some might think during the pre-Terry Pegula ownership era it was because the Bills were being cheap with re-signing players. Now it’s the opposite. Beane and McDermott have inked numerous players to extension before even getting to the point of considering using the franchise tag.

Really, 2023 is the first time it’s a true consideration.

But there's still a problem

Buffalo Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (49) USAT photo

The issue with using the franchise tag isn’t that the Bills won’t spend the dollars, as referenced. It’s that Buffalo currently does not have the salary cap space to slap it on a player. The Bills are approximately $20 million over the 2023 salary cap.

To make it happen, the Bills would have to do a lot of work for an expensive one-year contract.

Speaking of…

The tag for a linebacker is expensive...

Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds (USAT photo)

2023 LB franchise tag: $20.926M

The tag for a safety is expensive...

Jordan Poyer #21 of the Buffalo Bills (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

2023 safety franchise tag: $14.46M

The tag for a running back is expensive (and rarely used)...

Bills running back Devin Singletary (26) Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

2023 franchise tag: $10.091M

And the rest of them, for what it's worth...

Bills general manager Brandon Beane Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

  • QB: $32.4M

  • WR: $19.74M

  • TE: $11.345M

  • OL:$18.24M

  • DE: $19.727M

  • DT: $18.937M

  • CB:$18.14M

  • K/P: $5.393M

Story originally appeared on Bills Wire