The Packers elected not to use the franchise tag for the seventh straight year.
After choosing not to tag anyone in 2017, the team’s 13 unrestricted free agents will all hit the market. Green Bay last used the franchise tag in 2010, when defensive end Ryan Pickett earned one.
The move does not necessarily come as a surprise. While the Packers would like to have a number of their impending free agents back, the price tag was too high.
The players Green Bay would want to retain include T.J. Lang, Nick Perry, Jared Cook, and Eddie Lacy. Now the Packers will need to negotiate new deals if they’ll call Lambeau home in 2017. Simply put, none of those players deserved the one-year salary that the tag carries with it.
Perry appeared to be the top candidate to receive the tag from the Packers. He will likely be a hot commodity on the free agent market, but Green Bay did not see the LB as deserving of $15 mil/year either. It is possible, if not likely, that the raised salary cap leads to a bidding war for Perry’s services that the Packers refuse to match.
Lang suffered an injury in the NFC Championship Game, and Mike McCarthy did not expect him to do much until training camp. The offensive line tag would have been about $15 million, way too much even for Lang. The Packers have the depth to replace him if he receives a large offer somewhere else.
Cook and Lacy would have cost upwards of $10 million a piece. While both have expressed interest in returning to the Packers, they can both be had for much cheaper. Lacy especially could come back for a low price given his injury history.
What about elsewhere in the league?
While the Packers did not use the tag, other teams’ usage still affects Green Bay. Trumaine Johnson could have been a solid free agent pick up for the Packers. Instead, the Los Angeles Rams made sure their cornerback stayed put. Rumors also swirled that Green Bay could target LB Melvin Ingram, but the Chargers squashed those as well.
Of note, Stephon Gilmore of the Bills and A.J. Bouye of the Texans–two other free agent cornerbacks–did not get tagged. The Packers could potentially pursue either as they try to fix their defensive backfield.