Patriots Forego the Use of Any Franchise Tags
Foxborough, MA– When it comes to the NFL, franchise tags are a crucial part of contracts between teams and players. They are used by teams to keep players with the team for one more year before allowing them to become unrestricted free agents. Typically, players oppose the use of franchise tags as they limit their options for where they play during their career and teams tend to use them as leverage against some of the players they are not ready to give big paydays to yet.
This off-season was marked by many teams ignoring their franchise tag players and letting them walk. The New York Giants allowed Landon Collins, one of their best players, to become a free agent. Some teams used the tag (San Francisco retained Robbie Gould, the Houston Texans kept Jadeveon Clowney), but the New England Patriots opted not to tag any of their players.
Recently, the Patriots released tight end Dwayne Allen when they evaluated his contract as unbalanced for his role on the team going forward. Both sides made it clear, however, that they were willing to negotiate a new deal to bring Allen back to the team in the future. But it seems like the Patriots have deemed many players more intrinsic to the team's identity as unworthy of the tag.
Offensive tackle Trent Brown (who would be due $14 million dollars), kicker Stephen Gostkowski (just under $6 million dollars), and defensive end Trey Flowers (over $17 million dollars) were all allowed to walk by the Patriots as they now have become free agents. New England deemed their contracts too rich for the team's needs going forward, but they are still going to keep negotiations open to try to retain these players in the 2019-20 season, ESPN's Adam Schefter reports.
Gostkowski and Brown seem likely to return to the team, but Flowers is less certain. His talents are sought after by many teams as he was a true impact player on the Patriots defense in the past couple of seasons. Bill Belichick has shown a willingness to let defensive players walk in the past and it almost always works out well, but I can't help but feel like I really hope Flowers sticks around. To me, he's worth it! But who am I to question the Patriot Way?