NFL Franchise Tag window: When does the tag period open and who could get tagged?

Let's dive into one of the most important dates of the NFL Offseason.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

The 2024 NFL Offseason is again shaping up to be a fun one. One of the most important dates of this offseason will be the NFL franchise tag window, which officially opens on Tuesday.

Starting on Tuesday, February 20th, NFL teams can begin attaching franchise tags to players. The deadline to apply those tags are March 5th, just a couple of weeks later. The franchise tag in the NFL is an interesting thing. It is a one-year contract that pays the tagged players handsomely among their peers, but some teams do not tag players with the intention of them playing on the tag that coming season.

This informative article from NBC Sports Philadelphia is a great breakdown of the types of tags and how much they are worth. This is worth your time to read.

Teams will sometimes tag players to buy time to get a long-term extension done. However, players do play on the franchise tag all the time, and that will be the case in 2024. Well, which players are currently candidates to be tagged? Let's look at a list and talk about a few of those players.

Arguably the best potential free agent is Tee Higgins, who the Cincinnati Bengals could apply the franchise tag on. Higgins is a stud WR1 in the NFL but is also playing in the shadows of a top-five WR in Ja'Marr Chase. With the Bengals having already paid Joe Burrow, Orlando Brown, and likely extending Chase, it might be hard for Cincy to get a long-term deal done with Higgins, so a tag could be a one-year solution.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Baker Mayfield was a breakout, rebound player in 2023. He tossed 28 touchdowns against 10 interceptions in the regular season for the Bucs and is in line for a nice payday. Mayfield's offensive coordinator, Dave Canales, left the Bucs to be the head coach of the Carolina Panthers, so Mayfield might not be able to replicate the success in 2024 with Tampa if he is brought back.

Speaking of the Panthers, they are entering another new era and will have to make a decision on stud pass rusher Brian Burns, who played this past season on his fifth-year option. Burns is a premier pass rusher, but the Panthers need so much help on offense that they might want to spend their resources on that side of the ball. With an offensive-minded head coach, the Panthers could just tag Burns, or the two sides could finally agree to an extension.

There are a plethora of other franchise tag candidates across the NFL, and the teams can begin assigning them to players on the 20th of February.