The Los Angeles Chargers should bring back a few of their own unrestricted free agents, but the franchise tag shouldn’t be used on any of those players.
NFL teams have begun placing franchise tags on their players. They have until the March 6 deadline to do so.
As we all know, a team can only use the tag (non-exclusive, exclusive or transition) on one player, and that player can either sign the tag (guaranteed one-year deal), negotiate a long-term contract with the team before the July 16 deadline or, at worst, hold out.
The Chargers rarely use the franchise tag. Only seven players have been given the tag in team history. Defensive end Melvin Ingram was tagged last offseason, but the Chargers ultimately signed him to a four-year, $64 million deal a month before the deadline.
Will the Chargers tag anyone in 2018? Here’s a list of the team’s unrestricted free agents:
DE Jeremiah Attaochu
DL Tenny Palepoi
FS Tre Boston
TE Jeff Cumberland
TE Antonio Gates
QB Kellen Clemens
OT Chris Hairston
K Nick Novak
OT Michael Ola
OT Michael Schofield
OG Matt Slauson
OG Kenny Wiggins
RB Branden Oliver
LB Korey Toomer
The answer? No. There is nobody worth tagging. That’s OK, because it means the Chargers don’t have any high-profile players hitting the market. They’ll be able to retain majority of their own at a cheaper rate, which also gives them some space to target a few outside free agents.
One could argue that Boston is the Chargers’ only “name” free agent. Re-signing the 25-year-old free safety is likely the team’s top priority. However, if the Chargers place the franchise tag on Boston, it would cost them roughly $11 million against the cap should he sign the tag. That’s way too high of a number, especially since the Chargers don’t have a ton of cap space.
At the moment, the Chargers have $23.76 million in cap space, per OverTheCap.com. With cuts and restructuring of contracts likely coming, that number will change.