What the Franchise Tag Means for Kirk Cousins and Alshon Jeffery
While many notable players such as Von Miller and Josh Norman got big money contracts this offseason, others had to settle for the franchise tag. Two cases stuck out to me in particular for very different reasons – Kirk Cousins and Alshon Jeffery. Kirk Cousins had a breakout year last season, throwing for 4,166 yards and 29 TDs vs 11 INTs while completing passes at an almost 70% clip. Having said that, I am not surprised at all by Washington franchise tagging him, as his production last year was an aberration compared to his career overall. Granted it was his first year as a full time starter, but tagging him essentially allows Washington to say, “Prove it” and see if he can continue to produce without committing to him long-term. If he puts up similar numbers in 2016, he’ll get the payday he deserves and then some.
Alshon Jeffery on the other hand, was quite surprising to me, as he is a proven commodity. Aside from time missed due to injuries, he has been very productive over his four years in the league. In addition, Chicago has let Brandon Marshall and Martellus Bennett go over these past two off seasons which means Jeffery is their only proven pass-catcher. Kevin White looked great in college but has yet to see any meaningful action in the NFL. In addition, Jeffery is entering the prime of his career, and due to his injury history it is highly likely the Bears could have signed him to a much more team-friendly deal if they did it this offseason as opposed to taking the risk of him being fully healthy and producing at a great rate next season. If he does that, Chicago will regret not signing him this offseason, while Jeffery will get a payday on par with the Julio Jones and AJ Greens of the league.