Looking at 2022 NFL free agency, expect these five players to be given the franchise tag absent a previous long-term deal.
5. Harold Landry, EDGE, Tennessee Titans
Landry is coming off his rookie deal and also his best season as a pro. In four years, the 250-pounder has only missed one game and broke out in 2021, notching a team-best 12.5 sacks, earning his first Pro Bowl berth. If the Titans can’t sign him before the end of the franchise tag window on March 8, look for general manager John Robinson to use it on his stud pass-rusher.
4. Jessie Bates, S, Cincinnati Bengals
Bates is hoping to win his first Super Bowl, and worry about all the contract stuff later. However, like Landry, Bates is seeing his rookie deal expire and after starring in Cincinnati during the lean years, it’s time general manager Duke Tobin show him proper love. Bates is one of the best safeties in football and has formed a nice pairing on the back end with veteran Vonn Bell. The Bengals have a ton of cap space, so tagging Bates wouldn’t preclude them from spending elsewhere in free agency.
3. Mike Gesicki, TE, Miami Dolphins
Gesicki has become a terrific target for the Dolphins in his four seasons out of Penn State. Miami has struggled to protect Tua Tagovailoa in his two years as the starting quarterback, and Gesicki has bailed him out plenty. In 2020, the youngster caught 53 passes for 703 yards and six touchdowns over 15 games. This season, the tight end came down with 73 receptions for 780 yards and two scores. He’s not a superstar, but Gesicki is to valuable for the Dolphins to lose.
2. Orlando Brown, LT, Kansas City Chiefs
This is a no-brainer for the Chiefs. After trading a first-round pick to the Baltimore Ravens along with third and fourth-round choices for Brown, Kansas City is heavily invested. Then, after watching him earn a third consecutive Pro Bowl nod, it became clear the 26-year-old needs to be part of the long-term future. If general manager Brett Veach can’t get a deal done before March 8, Brown is assuredly going to get the tag.
1. Davante Adams, WR, Green Bay Packers
Adams is the easiest call here. There’s no world where the Packers let Adams leave without getting a huge haul for him. If Aaron Rodgers stays put, Adams could very well sign a mammoth deal, resetting the receiver market. Either way, it would be beyond stunning if he were to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason.