As the 2019 regular season comes to a close, there are plenty of teams that will be forced to hold onto their Super Bowl aspirations for the following season. As for the front offices, determining the direction of their roster will become more important than ever before.
There are three names that stand out at the quarterback position when it comes to the use of the franchise tag. With the tag hitting an estimated value of $27M in 2020, here is the explanation behind each potential candidate:
Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys
With Prescott’s rookie contract coming to an end, Jerry Jones and the front office still may not be committed to their quarterback. This season, Prescott has been forced to play from behind more often than not. As a result, he has totaled nine multi-passing touchdown games this season.
Still, the Cowboys sit with a 7-8 record and are on the brink of being eliminated from the playoffs. While it’s easy to point out the misguidance of Jason Garrett and the coaching staff, the burden needs to fall on Prescott’s shoulders as well.
At this time, Prescott has not rightfully earned a contract that surpasses colleagues such as Carson Wentz ($128M) or Jared Goff ($134M). The two options are simple: Sign a team-friendly extension, or play on the franchise tag. For Prescott, it would be wise to play on the tag and attempt to turn matters around.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This has been an odd year for Winston, as he leads the league in both passing yards (4,908) and interceptions (28). In fact, if he throws two more interceptions on Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons, he will be the first quarterback in NFL history to throw 30+ touchdowns and 30+ interceptions in a single season.
The latest reports detail that the Buccaneers are committed to bringing back Winston after the current season. While there have not been talks involving a long-term extension, perhaps the franchise tag could be in play.
Another name to keep an eye on would be Shaquil Barrett, who is set to become a free agent as well. With the latest provisions in the Collective Bargaining Agreement however, teams can now use both the franchise tag and transition tag on players.
Ryan Tannehill, Tennessee Titans
Since being upgraded to the starter in Week 6, the Titans have been 6-4 under Tannehill. On top of that, the veteran is having a career year with 2,544 passing yards, 20 TD, and 6 TD. As the third-most accurate passer in the league this year, he has forced Tennessee to consider a commitment past this year.
Slated to receive the #22 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, it may be wise for the Titans to deliver the franchise tag to Tannehill for the time being instead of gambling on a rookie that will fall past 21 other teams.
With Marcus Mariota also projected to become a free agent in 2020, it will be interesting to see whether the Titans distance themselves from the 26-year old.
Photo Credit: New York Post