I’ll admit….this one is as out there as the Old Spice commercials. Please give me time to explain the thought I had at 8:21am eastern standard time on this rainy 40 degree Sunday morning.
What’s Stopping The Patriots from Franchise Tagging Malcolm Butler??
After this wild week of events, I would not be surprised if GM Bill does the unthinkable. People are already throwing out the idea of using the tag on Malcolm but to that, I say
WAIT JUST A MINUTE!
The list of Cornerbacks hitting the free agent market this year aren’t exactly guys I’m throwing all my money at. Trumaine Johnson (LA) Johnathon Joseph (HOU) and Morris Claiborne (NYJ) are the only three that caught my eye.
Would I throw Malcolm Butler out to the wolves for one of these guys?
Honestly, no, not really.
Do I think Malcolm Butler wants to come back?
No, Not really.
However, franchise tagging Butler gives the Patriots some interesting leverage and puts Malcolm in a very interesting predicament.
Sean, I’ve gone this far pretending I know how a franchise tag works? Please help!
I’ve got you. (Goes straight to Wikipedia)
The franchise tag is a designation a team may apply to a player scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent.
The tag binds the player to the team for one year if certain conditions are met. Each team only has one franchise tag (of either the exclusive or non-exclusive forms) and one transition tag per year.
There are three different types of tags that a team can use on an unrestricted free agent.
1. An exclusive franchise tag means a team will pay that player no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position, or 120 percent of the player’s previous salary, whichever is greater. The player is not allowed to negotiate with other teams.
2. By applying the transition tag, a team offers the player a salary that is the average of the top 10 salaries at his position. That player can negotiate with other teams. If the original team decides to retain the player, it must agree to the contract terms offered by the other team. If the original team decides not to match the offer and the player leaves, it receives nothing in compensation. A team can use the transition tag only if it hasn’t used the franchise tag in a given offseason.
3. A non-exclusive franchise tag involves the same salary offer as an exclusive franchise tag, only the player can negotiate with other teams. The player’s current team can match any offer sheet. If the old team declines to match the offer, it gets two first-round picks from the other team as compensation. This is the more commonly used franchise tag.
DING DING DING DING I LIKE THE LAST ONE PLEASE!
(I’ll explain near the end)
The franchise tag value for Cornerbacks as of me typing this is projected to be between $13-15 million. This is determined by taking the average of the top 5 players salaries in the position. The reason it’s projected is because teams still have time to restructure deals if they feel necessary. Hypothetically let’s say it stays within that range.
The Patriots have 14 unrestricted free agents this year. Here’s the list.
WR Danny Amendola
CB Johnson Bademosi
RB Brandon Bolden
RB Rex Burkhead
CB Malcolm Butler
SS Nate Ebner
OT Cameron Fleming
LB Marquis Flowers
LB James Harrison
DT Ricky Jean Francois
RB Dion Lewis
WR Matthew Slater
OT Nate Solder
OT LaAdrian Waddle
Out of that list of names who do you think are most valuable? Hint: I bolded the ones I thought were important. Please note I value the Offensive Line. I have a 41 year old quarterback. Is there better than Cameron Fleming, Nate Solder, and Waddle? Probably, but this is what we are working with.
After looking at this list is when I started thinking that this random shower thought could be more and more of a possibility.
They’re not going to use the tag on Amendola.
How do I know this?
1. Amendola doesn’t care about money. He made that clear by taking a ridiculous pay cut to stay here.
2. There’s no way they are paying him above 15 million dollars which is the projected franchise tag value for WR’s. Brandin Cooks makes 8 million next year and Julian Edelman makes 4 million.
Could they use the tag on Dion or Solder?
Maybe. We are notorious for not paying our RB’s. I don’t think Kraft is going to budge there. James White is a very similar back albeit he has less human joystick qualities than Lewis. I think Lewis is going to find himself in a great situation on another team solely because we need to focus on the offensive line and the defense. He certainly deserves it.
Solder always contemplates retirement around this time, and I don’t think the Pats Management would use their franchise tag on offensive linemen.
That leaves our friend Malcolm. Who allegedly did nothing wrong. Who allegedly was thrown under the bus by the Dark Lord Bill. Who allegedly just wants to get paid.
Fun Fact: Franchise Tags Pay Players
From Butler’s Perspective: I like Money. 13 million is a lot of money to make in a year. The Patriots are still a Super Bowl Contender. Bill wronged me though, and I went to Instagram to express my feelings. Can I make 13 million without the tag??
From the Patriots perspective: We just allowed 41 points in the Super Bowl. There are no Bruschi’s, Law’s, Harrison’s, Mcginest’s and Seymour’s in that locker room currently. Is Malcolm one of those guys? No, but he’s better than Erik Rowe, Bademosi, and Jalen Richards combined. You have 11 million in cap space as I write this and can find ways to make it work to pay Malcolm. Bill can continue being the strict parent that is just trying to teach his son what tough love is…to make him better…to make him the player he knows he can be. Sounds like a 30 for 30 in the making. OR (and this is my favorite part) remember the type of franchise tag I got excited for? The non-exclusive franchise tag.
If the old team declines to match the offer, it gets two first-round picks from the other team as compensation
You remember the whole drama with the New Orleans Saints and Malcolm Butler before the season started? Yeah, they still want him….badly. He actually is a perfect fit to their system and would make that defense instantly better. It would be awesome to tag Butler and get two first-round picks from the Saints instead of just letting him walk. Would the Saints be dumb enough to do it? I don’t know but this theory makes it tingle I’m not gonna lie.
Imagine the Pats getting the Saints First Rounder, Their own First Rounder, and remember that 2nd rounder we got for Jimmy G. It’s honestly a “late” 1st rounder when push comes to shove. (Top 5 in the 2nd round). That’s a lot to work with to either make trades OR draft and rebuild your needs on DEFENSE. The thing is the Pats somewhat create a win-win for themselves. I don’t think Malcolm would say no to 13 million nor get an offer like that from anyone else. (Then again other teams are really stupid).
At the end of the day franchise tagging Butler does make some sense and can work for both sides. After watching the Patriots version of the Ocean’s 12 con on the Colts with McDaniels, I would put nothing past Bill. Franchise Tagging Butler would be the icing on the cake.
The sick part is I’ve typed this blog and convinced myself into believing this is actually going to happen.
Also, this would have been an awesome alternative ending to Super Bowl 52
Coach Yost – Bill Belichick
Ryan Gosling – Erik Rowe
Petey – Malcolm Butler