Although we’re still a week away from Free Agency, today marks the first step in the free agency process.
Teams have a 9th of March deadline for their franchise tag candidates. This means that by the end of tomorrow, we’ll have a firm understanding of who’s hitting free agency.
As of this moment, the only player to be slapped with the Franchise Tag is Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons. I fully expect there to be a flurry of tags today which will take some players off the board for the Jets and other teams during free agency.
Carl Lawson is a candidate over in Cincinatti, Allen Robinson in Chicago, Chris Godwin in Tampa Bay, Kenny Golladay in Detroit, Hunter Henry for the Chargers, Brandon Scherff for Washington. All players that will be considered for the tag, and all players who the Jets would almost certainly have an interest in.
It’s not uncommon for teams to leave the decision to the last minute. They want to see if they can get a long-term deal done. For teams with multiple candidates, this is particularly true.
For example, the Bengals have a tough decision to make. Do they tag William Jackson or Carl Lawson? Leaving it to the last moment gives them the opportunity to sign one and tag the other.
However before looking at other players and other teams, the Jets will need to decide whether they’ll be using the tag on their own safety, Marcus Maye.
Joe Douglas in his press conference last week reiterated his desire to have Maye with the team long-term. He explained that there had been constructive talks with Maye’s representatives and that the desire was there.
Maye’s representation has been critical of the Jets recently as a deal has failed to materialise. The Jets have plenty of cap space, Maye wants to be in New York, JD wants Maye in New York, so what’s the hold-up?
The Jets won’t let Maye go for nothing, he was ranked the 5th best safety in the league last year (even with Gregg Williams playing him out of position to start the year) and he’s a team leader. If a deal cant be reached then Maye will absolutely be franchise tagged today.
According to over the cap, the franchise tag amount for a safety is around $11.2 million for 2021. Maye will turn 28 tomorrow, so it may be that the Jets don’t want to commit to a huge long term deal, instead asking Maye to play out the season on the tag before looking to move on.
Personally, I have no problem with the Jets offering a 3-4 year deal for Maye. He’s a leader, he’s intelligent, statistically, he’s an elite player on a team that needs elite players. Letting him go just creates another hole that you need to fill.
At the end of the day this is a business and the numbers need to work for both sides. I’m hopeful that a deal can get done, that we can reward a player who’s been in the words of Joe Douglas “a pro’s pro”.