AS JUBILATIONS in Georgia continue unabated following the Falcs dismantling of the Ravens in the FOF Bowl, eyes are very much on the prize for 2018 as front offices across the country begin their prep early for a regular season that is still some eight months away.
Franchise tags will be applied by mid-February and already two teams have mooted their intentions. Seahawks GM Kevin Oaks has indicated that DE Michael Bennett will be tagged. It seems that Bennett is not enamoured by the move, and would not contemplate penning a long term contract to stay in Seattle, despite being an exuberant fan favourite in the Emerald City, racking up 30 sacks in the past three seasons.
Furthermore, Oaks is unrepentant in retaining the ten year vet by way of the tag, and not letting him try out the free agency market while still at his peak. Oaks has gone on record to say that by the time he is ready to relinquish placing the tag on Bennett, the 2nd-team all-leaguer will be prime for retirement. Player power most definitely does not dictate what happens in the rainy Pacific northwest – not while the iron fist of GM Oaks rules the roost.
Elsewhere, in Kansas City, new broom GM Craig Jackson is poised to tag tackle Eric Fisher for the second consecutive year, despite stating that the former overall number one draft pick is yet to live up to his billing. Jackson comments that, “Eric is one of our top players, and we want him to take another step and become the premier pass blocking tackle in the league, so we will use the tag to keep everyone else’s greasy mitts off our prime asset.” Jackson added that, “This will be my first significant step in ending the misery in Missouri.”
Jackson has a pragmatic approach and realises that all-universe type tackles are as rare as rocking horse excrement, so paying over the odds for a good-but-not-great player like Fisher is prudent, especially given that the Chiefs O-line is coming off a disappointing season and the other four starting spots are all up for grabs. However, unlike the situation in Seattle, Jackson is amenable to a longer term arrangement being reached with Fisher, claiming that, “Two successive franchise tags are not conducive to a mutually beneficial long term solution so while we want to shut the door on offers from other teams, we would like to negotiate a longer term settlement to keep Eric here until the day he decides to hang up his cleats.”
Over the next couple of weeks more teams are likely to use the franchise tag, reducing the current mouth-watering list of potential free agent prospects. Check back soon to see how things have progressed.