Derrick Johnson and Jeff Allen – Here’s where the Franchise Tag falls short for helping NFL teams out. The costs of the various tags are applied to position groups rather than individualized positions. That will eliminate players at certain positions from consideration almost outright. Derrick Johnson and Jeff Allen are perfect examples of that. As an Inside Linebacker, Derrick Johnson belongs to a position that simply does not make a lot of money.
While the top five Outside Linebackers all make over $10 million/year, Inside Linebackers make considerably less with only two players eclipsing that mark. However, all Linebacker positions are lumped together for Franchise Tag purposes, which means those OLB numbers drive up the cost for Johnson. The difference is even more pronounced for Jeff Allen at the Guard position.
The top offensive guard contract averages $8.5 million/year…not even in the top 10 for tackle contracts. And, of course, the NFL lumps guards, tackles, and centers all into one group for the franchise tag. Those elevated price tags for Johnson and Allen eliminate them from consideration right off the bat.
Will the Chiefs use the franchise tag in 2016? I think it’s pretty likely. Ultimately, I see the tag being used on Eric Berry until the two parties can work out a long-term deal. That move would be a combination of financial practicality and alleviating some pressure on John Dorsey as he continues to work on the roster. Things can always change, and two weeks is a very long time in the NFL offseason so it remains to be seen how this will all play out.