Trent Baalke ‘hoping Jaguars don’t need’ to use franchise tag

The Jacksonville Jaguars used the franchise tag in each of the last two offseasons on offensive tackle Cam Robinson and used it on pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue the year before that. Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke is hoping he won’t have to make it four years in a row for the team.

On Monday, the NFL set the 2023 salary cap at $224.8 million and, with that, officially set the numbers for the franchise and transition tags.

The two most important numbers for the Jaguars are at tight end and — to a lesser degree — offensive tackle. With Evan Engram and Jawaan Taylor set to reach free agency, it would cost $11.345 million to franchise a tight end and $18.244 million on a lineman.

“I’m hoping we don’t need to use it,” Baalke said of the tag last week. ““Obviously, we’d love to have Evan [Engram] back. Evan and I visited yesterday as he went around the building and visited with everybody. I think it’s mutual. Now we have to make it happen. That’s something that we’re going to work on with Evan and all the other free agents that we have.”

The Jaguars are currently well over the salary cap, but have plenty of ways they could clear room. While the price tag to retain Engram isn’t unrealistic, Jacksonville could save even more space with a multi-year extension for the tight end that pushes cap hits into later years.

For Taylor, an $18.2 million hit is a burden that the Jaguars probably couldn’t bear.

If any Jacksonville player gets the tag, it’d likely be Engram. But, as Baalke said, it’s a scenario that the Jaguars would be better off avoiding.

Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire