2024 Free Agency: Which players got tagged?

USA Today

L’Jarius Sneed, CB, Chiefs

Jan 13, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed (38) reacts against the Miami Dolphins during the first half of the 2024 AFC wild card game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Sneed would have been the top CB on the market. The Chiefs used the non-exclusive franchise tag on the 27-year-old, which means Sneed is free to shop himself to other teams and the Chiefs get the right to match any offer he might get. The Chiefs can refuse the offer and instead demand two first-round picks, though the two sides can also negotiate a tag-and-trade deal.

Justin Madubuike, DT, Ravens

Dec 10, 2023; Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Justin Madubuike (92) enters the field before the game against the Los Angeles Rams during the at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

One of the most consistent pass-rushing defensive tackles in the league, Madubuike had 13 sacks in 2023. That earned him the franchise tag, which will pay him just over $22 million for 2024.

Ravens GM Eric DeCosta decreed that the team will effort to keep Madubuike in Baltimore,

“We were unable to agree on a contract ext. w/Justin before the deadline and will use the franchise tag,” GM Eric DeCosta said via Ravens Wire. “Justin is a great player and person, and we’ll continue to negotiate long-term deal with him.”

Brian Burns, EDGE, Panthers

Nov 3, 2019; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers linebacker Brian Burns (53) lines up during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Burns and the Panthers have been unable to agree to a long-term deal for two years now, and it’s led to the franchise tag. Carolina used the non-exclusive tag, which means a tag-and-trade negotiation is open as a potential solution. If not, Burns will earn $24 million and hit free agency next year.

Antoine WInfield Jr., DB, Buccaneers

Dec 24, 2023; Tampa, Florida, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield Jr. (31) reacts after recovering a fumble against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best safeties in the NFL since entering the league in 2020, Winfield was never seriously expected to leave Tampa Bay. But the two sides couldn’t get a long-term deal done before Tuesday’s deadline.

Of all the tagged players, Winfield and the Bucs are perceived as the most likely to actually get a deal done and avoid the one-year, $17 million tag value.

Michael Pittman, WR, Colts

Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (11) runs in the game-winning touchdown in overtime against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023, at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn. The final score was 31-28.

The big wideout has caught over 200 passes in the last two season for the Colts, and he’ll be in Indianapolis for at least one more. Indianapolis used the non-exclusive tag on Pittman. He’ll get $21.8 million for the 2024 season if the two sides can’t work out a deal or a tag-and-trade.

Josh Allen, EDGE, Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Josh Allen (41) points to a familiar face before a regular season NFL football matchup Monday, Dec. 4, 2023 at EverBank Stadium in Jacksonville, Fla. [Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union]

Allen and the Jaguars didn’t reach a long-term deal, so Jacksonville placed the franchise tag on the 26-year-old pass rusher. He’s now set to earn $24 million in 2024 after his career-high 17.5 sacks last season. It’s the fifth straight season Jacksonville has had to use the franchise tag to keep a player in the fold.

Jaylon Johnson, CB, Bears

Dec 10, 2023; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago Bears defensive back Jaylon Johnson (33) intercepts a pass intended for Detroit Lions tight end Sam LaPorta (87) in the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The Bears tagged Johnson early, locking up their star cornerback for $19.8 million. Johnson was a second-team All-Pro in 2023 and won’t turn 25 until the week before the draft in April. The two sides have until July to reach a long-term contract.

Tee Higgins, WR, Bengals

Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins (5) gets his hand on a deep pass in the third quarter during a Week 17 NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The Kansas City Chiefs won, 25-17.

Higgins doesn’t have the production typically associated with a franchise player; he’s never caught more than 74 passes in a season and caught just 42 in 11 games in 2023. However, the Bengals value the 25-year-old wideout enough to lock him up with the franchise tag.

Kyle Dugger, S, Patriots

Sep 24, 2023; East Rutherford, New Jersey, USA; New York Jets running back Breece Hall (20) carries the ball during the first half as New England Patriots safety Kyle Dugger (23) tackles at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The Patriots were the only team to use the transition tag, a lower level of team control over a pending free agent. The transition tag means a team can match any offer sheet that the player signs with an outside club, but the Patriots won’t get anything if they agree to let Dugger leave.

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