Published On: Sat, Feb 10th, 2018

5 players who could get the franchise tag in 2018

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The NFL offseason is underway, and the franchise-tag window is the first key period in what’s sure to be an exciting 2018.

Beginning Feb. 20, teams can assign a franchise or transition tag to one of their impending free agents.

With plenty of big names in the conversation, here are five players who​ might be tagged:​​​​​​

Le’Veon Bell, RB – Pittsburgh Steelers

Bell played under the franchise tag this past season, so his one-year guaranteed salary would see a 20 percent increase from 2017 if he’s tagged again, making his cap number $14.54 million.

The Steelers running back is one of the NFL’s most dynamic offensive players, rushing for 1,291 yards in 2017 while catching 85 passes. But while the team and Bell are involved in contract talks, an agreement has yet to be reached.

It’s unlikely Pittsburgh will let him hit the open market, so using the tag on him for a second straight season is entirely possible – even with the salary increase. This would give the team more time to work out an extension.

DeMarcus Lawrence, DE – Dallas Cowboys

Lawrence was dominant for the Cowboys in 2017, registering a career-high 15 sacks and four forced fumbles. His breakout season after three inconsistent years makes the former second-round pick a perfect candidate for the franchise tag.

Dallas may be afraid to sign its edge rusher to a multi-year deal with substantial guaranteed money, so they could place the tag on him now and discuss an extension later in the year. The move may work in the 25-year-old’s favor, too. If Lawrence maintains or increases his production, he could earn a more lucrative deal in 2019.

Jarvis Landry, WR – Miami Dolphins

Miami‘s top receiver has caught more passes in his first four seasons than any player in league history (400) and is set to strike it rich this offseason. Only 25 years old, Landry led the NFL with 112 catches in 2017, but the Dolphins are reportedly struggling to meet his contract demands.

The Phins could let Landry walk in free agency, but would be left with inconsistent wideouts Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker atop their depth chart. If extension talks don’t pick up, there’s a chance Miami will guarantee the 25-year-old roughly $16 million for the 2018 campaign by tagging him.

Lamarcus Joyner, S – Los Angeles Rams

A second-round pick in the 2014 draft, Joyner broke out for the Rams in 2017, intercepting three passes and defending nine in 12 games. He’s a key member of an improving defense, and the team would be wise to retain his services.

Applying the franchise tag to Joyner would cost about $11.5 million in cap space, in comparison to the $16 million it would cost to tag fellow candidate Sammy Watkins. Los Angeles could opt for the cheaper option.

Ezekiel Ansah, DE – Detroit Lions

Turning 29 in May, Ansah is the oldest member of this list, but he’s still a likely candidate for the tag. Edge rushers are a premium position in the NFL, and the Lions defender is coming off a 12-sack campaign.

Detroit is slated to have plenty of cap space, making the $17-million-plus deal well within reason. It may also be a cheaper, less risky option than a long-term extension.

At least one pass-rusher has been slapped with the franchise tag in every offseason since 2010.

(Photos courtesy: Getty Images & USA Today)

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