Titans choose not to use the franchise tag and other notes from the NFL’s franchise tag deadline day

Today was franchise tag deadline day and the Titans chose not to use either the franchise or transition tag for this offseason. We knew that the tag numbers for Corey Davis (over $16-million) and Jayon Brown (over $15-million) were probably going to be non-starters, but I thought there was at least a chance that they would consider using the tag to hang onto Jonnu Smith. His price tag would have been just over $10-million on the tag. That’s a big number, but he would be a tough piece to replace if he were to walk in free agency.

The Titans still have between now and the 3:00 PM Central opening of the legal tampering window on March 15th to negotiate exclusively with their current pending free agents, including Davis, Smith, Brown, DaQuan Jones, Desmond King, and Jadeveon Clowney among others. It would be pretty surprising if none of their top free agent pieces returned for the 2021 season so I’d guess we see at least one or two of these guys back in two-tone blue this fall, but it won’t be on a one-year tag.

Other NFL Tag News

Below are the nine players who were franchise tagged for other teams around the league today:

S Justin Simmons (Broncos)
S Marcus Maye (Jets)
G Brandon Scherff (Washington)
WR Chris Godwin (Buccaneers)
LT Cam Robinson (Jaguars)
DL Leonard Williams (Giants)
RT Taylor Moton (Panthers)
WR Allen Robinson (Bears)
S Marcus Williams (Saints)

There were also several notable players who were not tagged, including:

EDGE Shaquil Barrett
EDGE Carl Lawson
CB William Jackson III
LB Lavonte David
WR JuJu Smith-Schuster
WR Kenny Golladay
EDGE Bud Dupree
TE Hunter Henry
G Joe Thuney
EDGE Trey Hendrickson
CB Shaquill Griffin
EDGE Romeo Okwara
EDGE Hasson Reddick
EDGE Yannick Ngakoue

Here are five quick thoughts on the tag decisions that were made and how they could affect the Titans approach in free agency.

1. Zero edge rushers getting the tag should make for a strong free-agent class at the Titans’ biggest position of need. There is still a chance that one or two of these guys gets an extension with their current team worked out in the next week before the market opens, but getting past the tag is a big hurdle for some of the top talents like Barrett, Lawson, Dupree, Hendrickson, and Okwara. (The Titans should back up the Brinks truck for Lawson or Barrett if they do, in fact, reach the market)

2. Tampa Bay is reportedly pursuing a long-term deal with Barrett which could take him off the market before March 15th, but it’s hard to see them locking up both him and Lavonte David in the next week. While inside linebacker isn’t necessarily the Titans’ biggest need, adding a player of David’s caliber to that position would be a tremendous lift to their struggling defense. Jon Robinson would be very familiar with the type of player David is on and off the field from their time together in Tampa. David is also close with Will Compton Keep an eye on him.

(Never mind…)

3. Hunter Henry hitting the market could help the Titans’ odds of keeping Jonnu Smith slightly. It at least gives Smith some company at the top of the tight end market and maybe it draws a potential suitor or two away from bidding on Jonnu.

4. Tags for top wide receivers were close to a 50-50 split. Robinson and Godwin got the tag while Golladay and Smith-Schuster did not. That leaves a pretty clear top three in the wide receiver market in my opinion with Davis joining Golladay and JuJu at the head of the class. Davis will be highly sought after in free agency. It sounds like both the Titans and Davis have mutual interest in sticking together, but money and opportunity will be there for CD on March 15th if they don’t strike a deal before then.

5. I never expected Leonard Williams to get out of New York and now that is official. This is a really weak defensive line class in free agency in general with Williams and J.J. Watt off the board already. Dalvin Tomlinson is probably the top guy at the position, but he’s far closer to a DaQuan Jones type than a guy who will be able to provide some pass rush juice. However, if you’re looking for some potential value adds here that could help the Titans interior defensive line rotation, I’ll give you a name that I love for them: Roy Robertson-Harris.

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