The Green Bay Packers rarely use the franchise tag. They haven’t used it for over a decade and this run is highly unlikely to end this offseason.
When players as talented as Corey Linsley and Aaron Jones are set to become free agents, there’s always a discussion about whether the team should use the franchise tag to ensure they are back the following season.
Linsley was a first-team All-Pro and key to the success of the offensive line. Pro Bowler Jones has been dominant with 3,017 total yards and 30 touchdowns since the start of the 2019 season.
But unless something changes between now and the start of free agency next month, both players will be free to sign elsewhere.
It would take some big salary cap moves to be able to afford to re-sign either player on a long-term deal, and using the franchise tag would be even more of a challenge.
Based on Over The Cap’s projections for 2021, using the franchise tag on Linsley would give him a cap hit of $14.5 million next season. Jones’ projected cap hit would be $11.1 million.
It’s worth noting that even after using the franchise tag, the Packers would have time to work out a long-term extension which would reduce the 2021 cap hit. But by then, free agency could be long gone. And if a deal can’t be agreed, the Packers would have to take on the cap hit.
It’ll be interesting to see whether the reduced salary cap means fewer teams are willing to use the franchise tag this offseason leading to more star players hitting free agency. It could be the case for the Packers.
Without much cap room to work with, there is almost no chance they will able to use the franchise tag to keep either Corey Linsley or Aaron Jones this offseason.