Free Agency Diary

Top NFL Talents Locked Up With Franchise Tag


In a few moves that should come as very little surprise, the Denver Broncos are expected to use their exclusive franchise tag on free agent linebacker Von Miller and the New York Jets will use the “regular” franchise tag on defensive end Muhammed Wilkerson.

The Broncos report stems from the Denver Post, who say that the two sides are still trying to get a deal done before Tuesday’s deadline to franchise players.  If Denver can not come to a new agreement with the Super Bowl MVP, he would play 2016 under a one-year tender of $14.129 million.

Having to use the tag would be somewhat troublesome for the Broncos as they try to navigate the free agency waters with defensive end Malik Jackson and quarterback Brock Osweiler.  They will have approximately $18 million to work with from Peyton Manning’s contract as soon as he reportedly retires or the team parts ways with him.

With teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders and Tampa Bay Buccaneers having so much cap space, the market for Jackson could get out of control.

Meanwhile, multiple reports reflect that the New York Jets will place the franchise tag on defensive end Muhammed Wilkerson.  There was some speculation that the team could let the former first-round pick test the market as they selected defensive tackle/end Leonard Williams in the first round of the 2015 Draft.

Wilkerson will earn approximately $15.7 million in 2016 if the two sides can’t come to a new contract agreement.

Although other teams can still negotiate with Wilkerson, the price that they would have to pay to the Jets of two first-round picks is far too high.  The real reason why Wilkerson received the tag is likely the instability around former first-round pick Sheldon Richardson.  The Jets will have plenty of assets tied up in their defensive line and they’ll need to make the postseason in 2016 to justify that.

Meanwhile in Chicago, the Bears announced that they’ll use their franchise tag on wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.  The former second-round pick would have had a huge market had he reached free agency as he was clearly the best wide receiver on the market.

Jeffery will earn approximately $14.5 million in 2016 and no team will entertain the idea of giving up a pair of first-round picks for him.

Here are our free agency rankings for wide receivers. 

About Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein

Charlie Bernstein is the managing football editor for Football Insiders and has covered the NFL for over a decade.  Charlie has hosted drive time radio for NBC and ESPN affiliates in different markets around the country, along with being an NFL correspondent for ESPN Radio and WFAN.  He has been featured on the NFL Network as well as Sirius/XM NFL Radio and has been published on Fox Sports, Sports Illustrated, ESPN as well as numerous other publications.