We have a better idea about who will be available on the open market when the league year begins March 17, and who will be under team control for the 2021 season.
Those answers were provided Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET with the passing of the NFL franchise tag deadline, courtesy of NFL insiders like ESPN’s Adam Schefter and NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Here are some of our biggest takeaways:
— Patriots did not tag guard Joe Thuney
It seems arguably the most reliable New England Patriot in recent memory will be headed to the open market. Thuney, 28, played on the franchise tag during the 2020 season, but reports included the Patriots hadn’t had much talk with Thuney regarding a long-term extension.
— Bears placed tag on receiver Allen Robinson
Chicago has been among teams rumored to be potential landing spot for quarterback Russell Wilson. Placing the tag on Robinson, who would make $18 million if the two parties can’t reach a long-term deal before July 15, at least makes that more enticing for Wilson. The option to trade Robinson is still there, though.
— Buccaneers placed tag on receiver Chris Godwin
The Super Bowl champions made sure they didn’t lose the Pro Bowl receiver, who caught 65 passes for 840 yards and seven touchdowns during the 2020 regular season. Godwin is slated to make just shy of $16 million on the tag in 2021, but his presence certainly keeps the Bucs as a contender to repeat.
— Lions did not tag receiver Kenny Golladay
Two receivers — Godwin and Robinson — no longer will be available on the open market, meaning Golladay could be the wideout most sought out. Reports have already surfaced the Dolphins will be among potential suitors while others believe it will be a long shot for Golladay to land in New England.
— Chargers did not tag tight end Hunter Henry
Henry made $10.6 million on the tag last season, and LA opted against giving it to the 27-year-old again. Henry, who has 196 receptions for 2,322 yards and 21 touchdowns in five seasons, now headlines the 2021 free-agent class of tight ends. He could be a target for the Patriots, specifically.
— Titans did not tag tight end Jonnu Smith
Smith will join Henry as another top tight end available on the open market. The 25-year-old Smith, a third-round pick in 2017, caught 41 passes for 448 yards and eight scores last season. He would have made sin the neighborhood of $10 million if he was tagged.
— Steelers did not tag edge rusher Bud Dupree
The pass-rushing tandem of T.J. Watt and Dupree seems it will be no longer in Pittsburgh. Dupree, 28, played on the franchise tag last season, but will now get to test free agency. He had 11 1/2 sacks in Pittsburgh during the 2019 season and was on track for another strong campaign in 2020 — eight sacks, 31 tackles, eight tackles for loss — before suffering a torn ACL in Week 12.
— Packers did not tag running back Aaron Jones
The 26-year-old Jones, a Pro Bowl running back, would’ve cost about $8 million on the franchise tag, per OverThe Cap.com, for a team who currently is about $10 million over their projected salary cap. The Packers are the only team able to negotiate with Jones until Monday, meaning they could still re-sign him, but Jones is one step closer to becoming arguably the most sought after running back on the open market.
— Seahawks did not tag running back Chris Carson
It feels like Carson, one of the league’s most productive backs when healthy, will be hitting the free agent market. The 26-year-old rushed for 1,151 yards in 2018 and a career-best 1,230 in 2019, but has missed ample time (19 of 64 games) with lower-body injures.
— Washington placed tag on guard Brandon Scherff
Scherff was tagged by Washington for the second straight year, meaning he will be due more than $18 million for 2021 if the two sides can’t agree to a long-term deal. The fact Scherff, 29, is no longer on the open market likely means longtime Patriots guard Thuney will be the most sought out interior lineman.
— Giants placed tag on defensive tackle Leonard Williams
Williams earned $16 million on last year’s tag and now could earn just shy of $19.4 million if he and New York is unable to agree on a long-term deal. The Giants d-lineman is coming off a career-best season with 11 1/2 sacks, but the team would definitely benefit from a signing him long term.
— Cowboys place procedural tag on quarterback Dak Prescott
The Cowboys, you probably heard, agreed to a four-year deal for $160 million with Prescott on Monday. Dallas placed a tag on the franchise quarterback, though, since the new contract can’t be agreed upon until th new league year begins.
— The franchise tag was used on safeties more than any other position
Jets’ Marcus Maye, Broncos’ Justin Simmons and Saints’ Marcus Williams all were tagged. If neither of the three is able to come to a long-term contract before July 15, Simmons will earn around $13.7 million while both Maye and Williams will earn in the neighborhood of $10.5 million.
— Two offensive tackles were given the tag, as well
The Panthers tagged 26-year-old tackle Taylor Moton, who has started every game for Carolina over the last three seasons. The Jaguars, who possess the most cap space of any NFL team, tagged Cam Robinson, a former second-rounder who started 16 games last season. Both are expected to make $13.6 million on the tag, if unable to come to agreements on long-term deals.