Tuesday is the first day NFL teams can designate franchise or transition players. Will the New York Giants use a tag to keep safety Landon Collins from reaching free agency?
The 2019 salary cap has not yet been set, so the exact cost of using a tag on Collins can only be estimated. Using a projected $190 million cap, CBS Sports cap analyst Joel Corry estimated the franchise tag to cost $11.287 million for safeties. Over The Cap estimated the franchise tag at $12.037 million and the transition tag at $10.268 million.
Collins, 25, has been named to the Pro Bowl three times in his four seasons. He was an All-Pro in 2015.
Per Over The Cap, there are currently only six safeties making more than $10 million annually, topped by Eric Berry of the Kansas City Chief at $13 million.
Collins said at the end of the season that he would like to remain with the Giants.
“My hopes are to be here, honestly. That’s my hopes,” he said. “Like I said from the beginning, I’ve been drafted here, I want to finish my career here. It’s a hope and it’s a dream of mine, and hopefully make it a reality.”
Collins was asked if he would play on the franchise tag.
“Would I play on it? I mean, I got no choice to play on it,” he said.
Corry listed Collins as one of the best franchise tag candidates for the upcoming season:
“Collins established himself as one of the game’s best safeties during a 2016 campaign in which he earned first-team All-Pro honors. He hasn’t done anything to dispel that notion over the last two seasons. Collins’ 428 tackles are best among safeties since he entered the NFL in 2015. The Giants rebuffing inquires about Collins as the Oct. 30 trading deadline approached was a good indication that his future is New York although negotiations for a new contract haven’t started. According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the Giants intend on franchising Collins if a long-term deal isn’t signed by the end of the tag designation period in early March.”
Teams have until March 5 to apply the franchise or transition tag.
What does each tag entail?
Non-exclusive franchise tag: This is the most commonly used tag. When most people refer to the “franchise tag” it’s generally the non-exclusive version to which they are discussing. It is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position over the last five years, or 120 percent of the player’s previous salary, whichever is greater. The player can negotiate with other teams. The player’s current team has the right to match any offer, or receive two first-round picks as compensation.
Exclusive franchise tag: A one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position for the current year, or 120 percent of the player’s previous salary, whichever is greater. The player’s team has all negotiating rights to the player. The bump in pay scale (current average salary versus averaging past five years of data) means only the crème de la crème get this tag (think: Drew Brees or Von Miller).
Transition tag: Think of this as the “you are pretty good, and we might want to keep you, but aren’t willing to put a ring on you ourselves” tag. The transition designation is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount that is the average of the top 10 salaries at the position -- as opposed to top five. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player might receive from another team, but no compensation if the team chooses not to match.
Valentine’s View: I have said a number of times that the Giants need to make sure Collins is part of their 2019 defense. Whether that means using the tag or getting him signed to a long-term deal, they simply can’t let the leader of their defense — a young, talented leader — get away.