Today marks the first day that the NFL teams can begin using the franchise tag on players. The Buffalo Bills have some potential candidates they could use the franchise tag on but will they?
The franchise tag is not something that has been used often by the Bills. The team has never used it with general manager Brandon Beane in his role with the team. There have been only two times in the last decade that the Bills as a franchise have used it. In 2013, the Bills used it on safety Jairus Byrd, and then in 2016, the Bills applied it to left tackle Cordy Glenn.
There are potentially three candidates this offseason the Bills could use a franchise tag on with linebacker Matt Milano leading the way, followed by offensive tackle Daryl Williams and offensive guard Jon Feliciano. Each of these players has been key starters for the Bills and has played big roles in their success.
While the Buffalo Bills would like to bring each player back, and franchise tag is an option to ensure they return, it does come with a significant cost. The franchise tag is essentially a one-year deal that is fully guaranteed and is the average of the Top 5 salaries at the position.
According to Over the Cap, this means Milano would receive a one-year deal worth $15,657,000 while Feliciano and Williams would receive a one-year deal worth $14,507,000. These are significant deals that the Bills would find it tough to fit knowing they are limited in cap space this year.
One of the reasons that these salaries are so high is how the franchise tags are grouped by position. The linebacker position includes 3-4 linebackers, who outside of quarterbacks are some of the highest-paid in the NFL, like Khalil Mack and Von Miller.
The same can be said when the offensive line is grouped together, which includes left tackles. If the Bills were to pay Feliciano or Williams the salary over $14 million for both players, it would make both Feliciano and Williams the third highest-paid at their positions.
While there is the benefit of guaranteeing the Buffalo Bills would be able to retain one of these key players, the cost of applying the franchise tag would be too much this offseason.