It is franchise tag time in the NFL. Expect the Giants to sit this one out. The Giants have 19 of their own unrestricted free agents to sort through once the market opens March 14, and it is a good bet the vast majority of them will not be re-signed. An argument can be made this new Giants regime, led by general manager Dave Gettleman, views all or almost all 19 players as expendable. And it is almost assured Gettleman will deem none of the players on the list worthy of the franchise tag. Tuesday is the first day NFL teams can use the franchise tag on one of their players, a timeframe that extends through March 6. A team can use the franchise tag on only one player, and it virtually assures that player will remain with the team for the season for an extremely high one-year contract. Designating a player with the franchise tag also can serve as insurance, as it keeps the player off the market while a long-term deal is negotiated. That scenario developed a year ago with defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The Giants have a history of using the franchise tag sparingly — only five times on four players (left tackle Jumbo Elliott, running back Brandon Jacobs, punter Steve Weatherford and Pierre-Paul, twice) since its inception in 1993. There are no logical candidates this time around. The two highest-profile Giants free agents are center Weston Richburg and guard/tackle Justin Pugh. The cost of placing the franchise tag on an offensive lineman this year would be in excess of $14.2 million, which is far too steep for the Giants, given they are only around $22 million under the salary cap, a total that will rise once they begin cutting veterans off their roster.
Giants’ franchise tag shrug may jump-start offensive line revamp
New York Post | Feb 21