The NFL franchise tag window opened yesterday. No one has been tagged yet, but there are already a few reports of which players won’t receive the tag. Two of the players who reportedly won’t be tagged include players the Eagles might be interested in if they make to the open market when NFL free agency officially begins on March 9.
First up, Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reports the Texans won’t tag Bouye. The 25-year-old cornerback figures to be the top player at his position in free agency. Spotrac projects Bouye to receive a deal worth $11.4 million per year (five years, $57 million).
It’s easy to see why the Eagles could have interest in Bouye. Philadelphia currently doesn’t have any starting outside corners under contract for 2017, so that’s not ideal. But is Bouye going to be worth the money, assuming the Texans can’t work out a deal with him first? We wrote about the possibility earlier this week.
Bouye is expected to get a huge pay day in free agency. Buyer beware. Bouye entered the season with just eight career starts in three seasons, and began it as a backup, not starting for the Texans until Week 5. From there he locked down the starting job, and he was impressive in the playoffs. But despite not starting for a full season, he was 2nd in the league in pass interference calls and was the 4th most penalized cornerback in 2016.
In case you’ve been living under a rock, the Eagles have been burned by big money free agent corners in the past. (See: Nnamdi Asomugha, Byron Maxwell.) Bouye might not be worth the risk, especially since the Eagles are tight on cap space. It seems like the 2017 NFL Draft could be a better option for the Eagles since it’s loaded with cornerback talent.
Despite having ample cap space to do so, the Browns will not tag Pryor, according to Albert Breer. Breer notes Cleveland does want to work out a long-term deal with the 27-year-old pass catcher, however.
Pryor is an intriguing player. The quarterback-turned-receiver caught 77 receptions for 1,007 yards and four touchdowns in 2016. He managed to post these numbers despite bad Browns quarterback play.
There’s no question Pryor has some serious athletic talent. But is he a reliable option over the long term? A look at his cons from earlier this offseason:
He may not be available. But if he is, he’s probably going to be expensive.
“It's my first time, I've been cut so many times. I wasn't good enough. Now it's my agents' turn to do their jobs and put me in the best position for myself. I believe in them and trust them.”
That sounds like a guy who is interested in paycheck first, situation second. Given the career span and health issues NFL players have, it’s hard to knock any player for taking a payday. Get paid. But you can knock a team for throwing money at a player who will be 28 when the season begins and has played his position full time for just one season. Which is what Pryor will be.
The feeling here is the Browns will be able to get a long-term deal done with Pryor. They have more cap space than any NFL team ($106 million). In addition, Pryor is a big fan of Browns head coach Hue Jackson.
Terrelle Pryor says he loves being with the Browns, and he wants to stay in Cleveland. That should help the Browns work out a long-term deal with Pryor, Cleveland’s top receiver last season.
"I know this is an important month,'' Pryor said via Mary Kay Cabot of Cleveland.com. "But I do love being with the Browns and like I said before, this thing isn't about joining a different team because a different team's good.”
Although they might not be the most realistic Eagles targets, there’s at least a chance Bouye and Pryor will make it to the market if they aren’t tagged. And the more options the Eagles have at big positions of need, the better.