Monday is the first day NFL teams can designate franchise or transition tag players. Would the New York Giants use the franchise tag to prevent one of their premium free agents from hitting the open market?
The franchise tag amount is determined by averaging the annual salaries of the five highest-paid players at a position, or 120 percent of a player's previous annual salary, whichever is higher. The Giants have generally avoided tagging players, using the franchise tag only three times since it was instituted in 1993.Punter Steve Weatherford is the last Giants' player to be tagged, getting the designation in 2012 as the teams worked out a long-term deal.
Let's look at the players the Giants might consider tagging this time around. Estimated tag values from former agent Joel Corry.
WR Hakeem Nicks (Est. tag value: $11.539 million) -- All signs have pointed toward Nicks and the Giants going their separate ways. After two straight sub-par seasons it seems unfathomable that the Giants would tag Nicks at a cap hit of more than $11 million. Here is what I wrote two weeks ago, and what I will stand by in reference to Nicks:
Why would they do that for a player who has not played well since the 2011 season and, frankly, seemed more interested in protecting himself for free agency during the 2013 season than in producing on the field for his team?
DT Linval Joseph (Est, tag value $9.182 million) -- We discussed the 25-year-old Joseph on Sunday. Would the Giants use the tag to keep him? Probably not, with 2013 second-round pick Johnathan Hankins ready for more playing time. The Giants have veteran Cullen Jenkins, young Markus Kuhn and could re-sign veteran Mike Patterson at a low cost. The belief here is that someone will push the bidding for Joseph beyond a dollar figure the Giants can handle.
DE Justin Tuck (Est. tag value $12.475 million) -- The Giants might be comfortable giving the soon-to-be 31-year-old Tuck $12 million -- over two years. As much as both Tuck and the organization might like to see Tuck remain in New York that price is way too high.
LB Jon Beason (Est. tag value $10.895 million) -- After being acquired in a mid-season trade, Beason brought play-making ability and a presence to the Giants they had not had at middle linebacker since Antonio Pierce was in his prime. The Giants can't replace what Beason brings to the table. With that in mind, the tag might make some sense if the sides can't work out a reasonable long-term deal. Again, though, the $10.8 million price-tag is exorbitant and makes it seem highly unlikely.
Who would you tag, Giants' fans? Vote in the poll and let us know.