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NFL franchise tag window could impact the Eagles

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NFL: Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL franchise tag window is scheduled to open today, Wednesday, Feb. 15 starting at 4:00 PM ET. Here’s a quick reminder how the one-year tag works.

“There are three versions: the exclusive franchise tag, the non-exclusive franchise tag, and the transition tag. The exclusive is the most costly version and ensures that a player cannot negotiate with any other team. The non-exclusive tag is more common because it's not as costly but it allows players to be signed to an offer sheet. If the tagging team fails to match the offer, the team receives two first round picks in exchange for the player (unless a trade is worked out otherwise). The transition tag is the cheapest option but the tagging team receives no compensation if an offer sheet is not matched.”

The tagging window is open until 4:00 PM ET on March 1. NFL unrestricted free agency officially begins on March 9.

Spoiler alert: the Eagles will not be using the tag this offseason. Philadelphia has several players scheduled to be free agents but none of them are worth tagging. The most deserving candidate is Bennie Logan, but the tag for a defensive tackle costs over $15 million for one year so that isn’t happening.

Just because the Eagles won’t be using the tag doesn’t mean the tag window will have no impact on them. Here’s a look at some tag situations that could interest the Eagles.

Alshon Jeffery

The Bears are not expected to tag Jeffery this offseason. Doing so would cost $17.5 million in 2017 since Chicago tagged him last year. It’s expected, then, that Jeffery will have a chance to test the free agent market. If that’s the case, the Eagles might go after him. Philadelphia is reportedly interested in the 27-year-old wide receiver. NFL odds-makers think the Eagles have the best chance of landing Jeffery if he doesn’t stay in Chicago.

Kirk Cousins

It will be interesting to see how the Cousins situation plays out in Washington. There’s been talk that the two sides aren’t close to agreeing on a long-term contract extension. It’s expected the Redskins will have to tag Cousins for the second year row, which will cost them more than $24 million. If Washington uses the non-exclusive tag, there’s a chance Cousins could sign an offer sheet with Kyle Shanahan’s 49ers. Washington would get two first round picks if they don’t match San Francisco’s offer.

Whether it’s the $24 million tag or it’s what’s expected to be the most lucrative contract extension in NFL history, Cousins is set to get paid. And that’s pretty funny to me. Yes, I know he plays well against the Eagles. And sure, he’s posted some good stats over the last two seasons. But the dude just doesn’t perform well against teams that are actually any good. He also has a sub .500 starting record.

In addition, Carson Wentz (4) has twice as many wins over teams with nine-plus wins than Cousins (2) does.

If that’s the guy Washington wants to make the highest paid NFL player ever ... good luck.

If Cousins ends up playing on the tag for the second year in a row, his $24 million figure will eat into Washington’s cap space. They have a lot of room, so it won’t exactly put them in a bind, but Washington spending big money on Cousins could mean less of a chance for them to keep both Pierre Garçon and DeSean Jackson. The Eagles have been linked to both wide receivers as potential free agent targets. Especially Jackson.

A.J. Bouye

The 25-year-old cornerback is expected to be one of the top cornerbacks on the market if he makes it to free agency. Bouye is a strong candidate to get tagged, so don’t get your hopes up.

Terrelle Pryor

Pryor would be an intriguing option for the Eagles if he sniffs the market, but I don’t see any chance how that happens. The Browns have the most cap space in the NFL ($106 million). They’ll definitely tag him if they can’t work out a long-term extension.

Jason Pierre-Paul

JPP was a key contributor to the Giants’ significant improvement on defense last season. Now New York will try to work out an extension with their 2010 first round pick. If the two sides can’t agree to a new deal, they might have to tag him. But doing so would mean less cap space to sign much-needed improvements on offense. This could be a tough situation for the G-Men.

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