The NFL free agency period will start ramping up over the next couple weeks as teams will get a head start on their 2023 salary cap situation, thanks to a crucial date on the league calendar. Tuesday marks the start for teams to decide whether to place the franchise tag or transition tag on any one of their players for the 2023 season, creating some cap maneuvering around the league. 

Some teams will use the franchise tag right away in the hopes of negotiating a long-term extension with that player in the weeks leading up to free agency. Other teams will wait to the very last minute to decide if any unrestricted free agent is worth the franchise tag -- or some teams won't even use the tag at all. 

Eight players received the franchise tag last season, meaning 25% of the league applied the tag on their pending free agents. Three of those players signed long-term deals with the team that applied the tag on them, and one was traded (Davante Adams) while the other four played the year on the tag. Whether a long-term extension will be settled with that player will be processed in due time, yet teams will maneuver to keep their key players on the roster for 2023 and beyond. 

Per CBS Sports contributor and former NFL agent Joel Corry, below is the projected tag salary at each position for every player who is franchise tagged in 2023 (The 2023 salary cap is set at $224.8 million):

PositionProjected franchise tag





Wide receiver


Defensive end


Defensive tackle




Offensive line




Tight end


Running back




Which players are franchise tag candidates for every team over the next few weeks? Let's take a look at the unrestricted free agent for each team who could have a franchise tag placed upon them over the next few weeks (if there are any free agents worth tagging). 

Note: Cap space listed is from our 2023 free agency primer

Arizona Cardinals

Potential franchise tag player: None

There aren't many players worth tagging on the Cardinals this offseason, as the franchise has plenty of free agents it can part ways with next month. Zach Allen is the only player worth tagging on this roster, the only player worth keeping on this defense. 

Going from a salary of $2.8 million to $19.3 million is a significant raise, especially for a rising player like Allen. A career-high 35 pressures, 8.5% pressure rate and 5.5 sacks is worth retaining Allen -- but not for that amount. They can afford to re-sign him without applying the tag. 

Atlanta Falcons

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Falcons are another franchise that don't have any players worth tagging this offseason, the closest being Kaleb McGary. Is McGary really worth giving $18.2 million this offseason?

McGary has been a starting right tackle for Atlanta, but that's it at this stage of his career. While he's allowed 33 sacks over his four seasons in the league, the 3.9% pressure rate allowed last year was the lowest of his career. McGary is getting better, but he's not worth the tag. 

Baltimore Ravens

Potential franchise tag player: Lamar Jackson (QB)

This is a no-brainer for Baltimore. Jackson is the team's franchise quarterback and the Ravens will lose him for nothing if they just let him walk. The exclusive tag won't allow Jackson to negotiate with other teams while Baltimore would receive two first-round picks if they placed the non-exclusive tag on Jackson and don't match the offer from another team. 

Jackson is worth more than two first-round picks and the Ravens shouldn't let him walk anyway. The Ravens are 45-16 with Jackson as a starter and 8-18 without, averaging 28.0 points per game in Jackson's starts and 20.0 without him. They need Jackson on their roster in 2023. 

Buffalo Bills

Potential franchise tag player: Jordan Poyer (S)

The Bills actually have two choices here: Poyer and linebacker Trumaine Edmunds. Poyer is the older player, but also a leader this defense can't afford to lose. Giving the tag to a safety is much more forgiving, as Poyer would make $14.5 million in 2023 compared to Edmunds at $20.9 million. 

Poyer had a huge year at the age of 31, finishing with 63 tackles, eight passes defensed and four interceptions. The Bills were 12-0 when Poyer played last season and is the only player with 20-plus interceptions and 10-plus sacks since 2017. 

Poyer is the heart and soul of the Bills defense. He's worth the tag. 

Carolina Panthers

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Panthers are another team that doesn't have anyone worth applying the tag toward this offseason. The best candidate is running back D'Onta Foreman, who had a career-high 203 carries for 914 yards and five touchdowns last season (4.5 yards per carry).

Carolina can retain Foreman for a much cheaper rate than $10.1 million. There's no need to apply the tag here, especially given their cap situation. 

Chicago Bears

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Bears have $94 million in available cap space -- and no free agents worth applying the franchise tag on. Riley Reiff would be the only player in consideration for the tag, but he's not worth $18.2 million. 

Chicago would be wise to sit this one out. 

Cincinnati Bengals

Potential franchise tag player: Jessie Bates III (S)

Bates had the same impact this year as he had in previous years, finishing with 71 tackles, eight passes defensed and a career-high four interceptions. Opposing quarterbacks had just a 49.8 passer rating targeting Bates, completing just 59% of their passes.

The Bengals should just tag Bates again and try to work out a long-term deal. He's too good a player to let walk. 

Cleveland Browns

Potential franchise tag player: None

Cleveland's free agent crop isn't great this year, with Deion Jones being the best player who's going to hit the market. Jones, a former Pro Bowl linebacker, was traded to the Browns prior to the deadline and finished with 44 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and an interception in 11 games with Cleveland. 

Jones is a good player, but the Browns can retain at a much cheaper rate than $20.9 million. 

Dallas Cowboys

Potential franchise tag player: Tony Pollard (RB)

If there's a running back to place a tag on, Pollard is one of a few. An explosive player since he's entered the league, Pollard has averaged 5.1 yards per carry in his four seasons. Dallas was explosive when Pollard finally was used in the featured role, as he finished with 1,007 yards, nine rushing touchdowns and 5.2 yards per carry. He also averaged 9.5 yards per reception in earning a Pro Bowl appearance. 

Pollard is worth $10.1 million as Dallas buys more time to seek a long-term deal. Pay Pollard and cut Ezekiel Elliott

Denver Broncos

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Broncos don't have a player worth tagging in 2023, as their free agent class won't be in high demand as in previous years. They also have a limited number of draft picks available, so applying the tag isn't necessary.

If there was a player Denver could tag, it would be Kareem Jackson. While durable and coming off a career high in tackles (94), Jackson is 34 and not worth paying $14.5 million in 2023. 

Detroit Lions

Potential franchise tag player: None

Detroit has free agents worth retaining, but none is worth slapping the tag on prior to free agency. Jamaal Williams had a huge year with 1,066 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns (which led the league), but the Lions can keep him around for much less than $10.1 million. 

Amani Oruwariye is also worth re-signing, but not worth the tag rate of $18.1 million. He didn't have an interception last season and opposing quarterbacks had a 97.9 passer rating targeting him. The Lions can re-sign Oruwariye for a cheaper rate as he's still a key piece of that defense. 

Green Bay Packers

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Packers don't have a lot of free agents this offseason as they await the decision of Aaron Rodgers -- again. If there's any player worth slapping the tag on, it would be Adrian Amos, who has been a key piece in that defense for several years. 

Amos had a very poor year in coverage as opposing quarterbacks had a 103.8 passer rating targeting him while he allowed six touchdown passes and a 70.2% completion rate. Amos did have a career-high 102 tackles, but giving him $14.5 million with their cap situation would be asinine. 

Houston Texans

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Texans don't have a single free agent worth tagging. They are better off sitting this one out and adding talent through other teams. Having that No. 2 draft pick and finding a franchise quarterback should be their key focus this offseason. 

Indianapolis Colts

Potential franchise tag player: None

Indianapolis is in the same situation as Houston, needing to find that franchise quarterback for a roster that should be better than what they've shown over the past few seasons. Yannick Ngakoue would be worth the consideration of placing the tag on after a season which he finished with 9.5 sacks, 44 pressures and a 10.8% pressure rate. 

Ngakoue can still get to the quarterback and has been one of the consistent pass rushers over the past several seasons, never having fewer than eight sacks in a season. 

Jacksonville Jaguars

Potential franchise tag player: Evan Engram (TE)

Engram had a career year in Jacksonville, arguably the greatest season for a tight end in Jaguars' franchise history. He finished with a career-high 73 catches for 766 yards, both franchise records for Jaguars tight ends in a season. 

Engram was a reliable target for Trevor Lawrence and was crucial for his development. With Calvin Ridley set to come back, Engram is worth paying $11.4 million until he and the Jaguars can reach a long-term deal. 

Kansas City Chiefs

Potential franchise tag player: Orlando Brown (LT)

The Chiefs are expected to tag Brown again -- and they absolutely should. Brown wants to remain in Kansas City and would easily be the top free agent tackle on the market if the Chiefs didn't tag him. 

Brown allowed four sacks and 39 pressures in the regular season while allowing 10 pressures in three postseason games (just one in the Super Bowl). Brown hasn't allowed a sack since Week 15 against the Houston Texans and just two sacks since Week 9 against the Tennessee Titans.

Brown is a franchise left tackle and is worth the $18.2 million the Chiefs would pay him. 

Las Vegas Raiders

Potential franchise tag player: Josh Jacobs (RB)

Jacobs was the NFL rushing champion and arguably the most productive back in the one year he was with Josh McDaniels, rushing for 1,653 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also led the league in yards from scrimmage with 2,053 and was the first Raiders player since 1985 to win the league rushing title. 

Jacobs is worth the $10.1 million for 2023 -- and the tag gives the Raiders time to see if they can sign him to a long-term deal. 

Los Angeles Chargers

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Chargers went on their free agent spending spree last offseason, so placing the franchise tag on any player in this crop is unnecessary. Nasir Adderley is a good player, but he's not worth placing the tag on at this stage (even though opposing quarterbacks had just a 38.9 passer rating targeting him last year). 

Simply put, the Chargers just don't have the cap space to use the tag with the Justin Herbert extension looming as the top priority. 

Los Angeles Rams

Potential franchise tag player: None

There are no free agents on the Rams roster that are worth placing the tag on this year. The best option would be Nick Scott and he struggled with more coverage snaps this season. No player in this free agent class is worth giving top dollar to this offseason. 

Miami Dolphins

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Dolphins have a lot of free agents, but there aren't any who are worth using the franchise tag on. Mike Gesicki played under the tag in 2022, but he won't be back this year. Raheem Mostert and Jeff Wilson are free agents, yet both are replaceable and not worth top dollar for a tag -- even if the Dolphins bring both back. 

Elandon Roberts had a career-high 104 tackles and 4.5 sacks, but is he a fit in Vic Fangio's defense? Another free agent who isn't  worth placing the tag on. 

Minnesota Vikings

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Vikings have two players they should re-sign in Garrett Bradbury and Dalvin Tomlinson, but none of them are worth placing the tag on over the next several weeks. Bradbury is an improving center, but not at the price of $18.2 million. 

Tomlinson had a career-high 29 pressures and a 9.9% pressure rate this season, but the franchise tag is too high for a player of his caliber. The Vikings can retain him for cheaper.

New England Patriots

Potential franchise tag player: Jonathan Jones (CB)

While the Patriots have plenty of cap space, Jones is the one free agent they shouldn't let hit the open market. He did allow six touchdowns this season, but opposing quarterbacks only had a 60.9 passer rating targeting him -- the second consecutive year the passer rating was below 65. 

Jones allowed a career-low 51.1% completion rate this year and has just one pass interference penalty over the last four years. He's an ideal fit for Bill Belichick's defense and worth the money at this stage of his career. 

New Orleans Saints

Potential franchise tag player: None

Given the Saints' salary cap situation, the franchise tag is out of the cards. New Orleans has several starters who are free agents, but none worth slapping the tag on. Michael Thomas would have been an easy tag candidate at one point, but he has just 609 yards and three receiving touchdowns over the past three years. 

If Thomas ever gets back to pre-injury form, he may be that impact player again. 

New York Giants

Potential franchise tag player: Saquon Barkley (RB)

The Giants would be taking a risk tagging Barkley, but this could be the best one-year solution. Barkley set a career high in rushing yards (1,312) in a Pro Bowl season, playing behind an offensive line that wasn't great. Put Barkley in an offense with playmakers at wide receiver, and his receiving numbers (338 yards, zero touchdowns) will significantly increase as a receiver out of the backfield. 

The Giants can afford to pay Barkley $10.1 million on a one-year commitment, avoiding the long-term deal while still using his strengths as a difference-maker in their offense. They can use the 2023 season to decide if Barkley is worth giving top dollar to in the future. 

This is actually less than what Barkley wants to make in free agency. 

New York Jets

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Jets have a few starters who will be free agents, none who could be worth franchise tag consideration. Quincy Williams is a good player who had a career-high 12 tackles for loss (106 tackles) and three sacks this season while Lamarcus Joyner matched a career-high three interceptions in his age-32 season. 

Kwon Alexander isn't worth the top dollar anymore for a linebacker, but he's still a starter in the league. Sheldon Rankins is still a force on the defensive interior, but not enough to pay a top-five salary at his position. 

Of this group, Williams could be worth slapping the tag in 2023 -- but the Jets can retain him for cheaper. 

Philadelphia Eagles

Potential franchise tag player: James Bradberry (CB)

The Eagles have quite a few free agents worth slapping the tag on, none had as good of a season as Bradberry. In his lone season with the Eagles, opposing quarterbacks had just a 43.5% completion rate targeting Bradberry -- finishing with a 44.5 passer rating. 

Bradberry was arguably the best cover corner last season, worth the $18.1 million he would make in 2023. Another year with him and Darius Slay would be huge for the Eagles in their hopes of winning the Super Bowl next season. 

Pittsburgh Steelers

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Steelers don't have any players worth slapping the tag on this year. Terrell Edmunds would be the most ideal candidate, but Pittsburgh can get him cheaper than $14.5 million.

Edmunds had two sacks and 70 tackles last season, but no interceptions and a 102.3 passer rating when targeted. The Steelers can retain him for much cheaper. 

San Francisco 49ers

Potential franchise tag player: Tashaun Gibson (S)

The 49ers have two players in the secondary worth tagging, but Emmanuel Moseley was injured last season and only played five games (43.6 passer rating against when targeted). Tagging a safety like Gibson would be easier for the 49ers, especially after the year he had. 

Gibson was excellent in coverage last season, finishing with five interceptions and eight passes defensed at the age of 32. Opposing quarterbacks had just a 19.3 passer rating targeting Gibson this season. Even in his 30s, Gibson may be worth slapping the tag on -- but the 49ers can make sure he stays for cheaper. He will be in demand this free agent season. 

Seattle Seahawks

Potential franchise tag player: Geno Smith (QB)

The Seahawks have to make sure Smith doesn't bolt for Tampa Bay with quarterbacks coach Dave Canales (now the Buccaneers offensive coordinator), so they may have no choice to franchise tag him and hope to work out an extension. Paying Smith $32.4 million isn't the worst idea given how inflated quarterback contracts are going to be this offseason. 

Smith completed 69.8% of his passes for 4,282 yards with 30 touchdowns to 11 interceptions (110.9 rating). He finished in the top 10 in league MVP voting and led the NFL in completion percentage. 

Perhaps Smith can be even better in 2023 -- at good value, too. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Potential franchise tag player: Jamel Dean (CB)

Paying both Dean and Carlton Davis at cornerback probably isn't the wisest move, but the Buccaneers can buy time to lock up Dean to a contract extension. While Dean's allowed a career high in pass touchdowns (five), he's a very good starting cornerback in the league. 

Opposing quarterbacks have just a 66.2 passer rating targeting Dean this year (47.9% completion rate) and he'll get an opportunity to prove himself as a No. 1 cornerback if he hits the open market. The Buccaneers probably won't pay Dean $18.1 million, but that could be what he gets in free agency. 

Tennessee Titans

Potential franchise tag player: None

The Titans have a player who could be worth placing the tag on, if they weren't in salary cap hell to start the offseason. David Long had a career-high 86 tackles this season in 12 games (with two interceptions and five passes defensed), standing out in a defense that suffered a slew of injuries. He is an excellent off-ball linebacker and can play all three downs. 

Is Long worth $20.9 million? No, which is why the franchise tag isn't good for this position. 

Washington Commanders

Potential franchise tag player: Daron Payne (DT)

Payne is going to be one of the best players to hit the open market, a player the Commanders will probably lose if they don't place the franchise tag on him. Payne didn't make the Pro Bowl despite notching a career-high 11.5 sacks this year, along with 49 pressures and 20 quarterback hits (9.6% pressure rate).

Payne would be a disruptor for any defense, well worth the $18.9 million he would receiver if he was tagged. At just 25 years old, the best is yet to come for a player of Payne's caliber.