The Cincinnati Bengals have used the franchise tag on players a handful of times. The most recent being on Michael Johnson in 2013, before he left for Tampa Bay the next year and returned to the Bengals in 2015. They also used it on Mike Nugent in 2012 and Shayne Graham in 2010 with the idea to keep two solid kickers at reasonable prices.
Now, George Iloka and Marvin Jones were the target of many fans, why not use it to keep either of them and work out a long term deal later? The Bengals were smart not to use the franchise tag this season and to continue to find ways to keep guys in the franchise without breaking the bank.
Lets take a look at the numbers:
According to Spotrac, George Iloka has a market value of around $5.6 million dollars a year. If you look at the franchise tag for safeties, according to Pro Football Talk the NFL has put a price tag of $10.8 million dollars on teams that franchise tag a safety. That almost doubles Iloka’s estimated market value, which would be terrible business sense by the Bengals.
Marvin Jones seems like a different story. He was a big part of the Bengals success and they are certainly going to miss his production if he left. Although that is true, giving a number two receiver more than you are paying your number one, doesn’t make sense. Franchise tagged wideouts are slated for $14.6 million and Spotrac has Jones slated at $5.5 million, almost one-third the franchise tag guarantee.
This should by no means should say anything about their importance to the Bengals in any capacity. They both are very valuable, just as Adam Jones and Reggie Nelson have been over the past few seasons. The money that it would cost the Bengals to franchise tag any of their free agents this season is ridiculous and would force the Bengals to give up on other much needed free agent moves.
The Bengals will be in a similar position next season with 13 unrestricted free agents. Saving cap space now will help the Bengals budget heading into the 2017 season, especially with Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, and Geno Atkins slated to receive pay raises after next season. One thing is certain, all eyes will certainly be on the Bengals heading into free agency and if they can retain their high quality talent.