NFL teams were able to start tagging players starting on Tuesday, February 23rd with a deadline of March 9th. Teams can still sign a tagged player to a longterm deal up until July 15th. Players would rather get longterm deals instead of a single season franchise tag that gives them a one-year contract, but they do get a reasonable sum. Unfortunately that payday doesn’t come with any guarantees for the future.
This season the salary cap will take a hit due to COVID-19 and lost revenue. The franchise tag money won’t grow as usual, but it will still top out with quarterbacks getting around $24.8 million, defensive ends would come in next at $15.8 million, then all the way down to $9.5 million for tight ends and $4.4 million of kickers and punters.
The Panthers will tag right tackle Taylor Moton, per The Charlotte Observer’s Alaina Getzenberg. Moton has proven himself to be one of the best offensive linemen in the league and retaining him is right up there with finding a new quarterback to replace Teddy Bridgewater.
Moton was the highest-graded player on the Panthers’ offense according to Pro Football Focus last season and has proven himself excellent and durable over the last two seasons. The Panthers could lose other offensive linemen to free agency this offseason, but Moton is the only lineman worth going all in on.
The team has until July to sign him to a longterm deal and it appears they will do all they can to do so. Even with a high price tag, a multi-year deal can be manipulated to work with the salary cap better than the franchise tag. The tag gives Carolina some backup, but not getting a deal done with a player like Moton would be a poor move for the team. Should he actually play under the franchise tag in 2021, he would be set to make $13,754,000.