Bills’ Josh Allen Not a Fan of Franchise Tag: ‘I Don’t Think It’s Great for the Team, Nor the Player’

In Thursday’s Hot Clicks: Josh Allen’s thoughts on the franchise tag, an outfielder’s assist on a home run and more.
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“Eww”

Congratulations, Josh Allen, you’re the next quarterback in line to get a big-time contract extension. After a breakout season in 2020, the Bills are starting to talk about locking up Allen with a long-term deal. General manager Brandon Beane expects to start those conversations after next month’s draft.

Allen has two years left on his rookie contract (including his fifth-year option, which the Bills will surely exercise before the May 3 deadline). And Buffalo sounds sold on Allen as its franchise guy, but if the two sides can’t reach an agreement on an extension before he’s set to hit the free-agent market, Allen will get slapped with the franchise tag.

Appearing on the podcast 10 Questions with Kyle Brandt, Allen was asked for his thoughts on the tag and had a pithy response: “Eww.”

“I don’t think it's great for the team, nor the player,” Allen continued. “Again, I need to do more research on it, but if you look at the guys that’ve been tags in the past couple years, as far as the quarterback position goes, it was Dak [Prescott], and Kirk Cousins. And at the end of the day, you could make the case that they should’ve just done the deal the year prior, or a couple years prior. So it is what it is. At the end of the day, whatever happens, happens. It’s not gonna deter me from trying to be the best quarterback for the Bills.”

As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio points out, the franchise tag can be good and bad for both the player and the team. The tag artificially suppresses a player’s earnings by forcing them into a one-year contract, but because the value of the tag increases each time it is applied, getting tagged twice gives the player leverage to work out a long-term deal.

The examples Allen gave—Prescott and Cousins—are actually two guys who fared pretty well under the tag. Prescott got $31.4 million for playing under the tag in 2020, which is equal to the average annual guaranteed salary of his new extension, and saw his value increase. Cousins got a raise from $660,000 in the final year of his rookie deal to $19.9 million in his first year under the tag. He got $23.9 million when Washington tagged him again and used those two seasons under the tag as an audition to get a fully guaranteed three-year contract worth $28 million per year with the Vikings (followed by a two-year deal worth $33 million annually, again fully guaranteed).

Teams will always prefer to lock up their star quarterbacks without having to deal with the hassle of the franchise tag. So, if Allen doesn’t like the idea of being tagged, maybe it’ll be easier to come to an agreement. 

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