Unless something very surprising happens in the coming hours, both the Miami Dolphins (with Olivier Vernon) and the Los Angeles Rams (with Janoris Jenkins) are going to use the franchise tag, despite not really wanting to, in order to try and keep these two pretty unsatisfied players.
The situation for the Rams with Jenkins seems to be more severe. The problem for the Rams is that they have another cornerback, Trumaine Johnson, that they need to re-sign, so it’ll be one of the two who gets the franchise tag. The Rams tried working things out with Jenkins during the season, but communications broke off after week 6 in regards to a new contract. Jenkins has also switched agents, which usually means he’s more than ready to see what the free agency market has to offer.
According to rumors, the Rams aren’t offering him more than $8 million a season on the proposed deal, while Jenkins is looking for at least $10.5 million a season, and maybe even something closer to $12 million a season. Using the franchise tag on him or Johnson will cost $14 million, although there’s also the riskier transition tag that can be used, worth $12 million, although puts the team at risk of losing him without any compensation. Jenkins has played in 60 games for the Rams since 2012, picking up 10 interceptions, including three last season.
For the Dolphins, the cap situation is a little bit tricker. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of bad blood between the front office and Vernon and his representation, but they’re not any closer to a deal. The 25-year old defensive end has done quite well since being taken 72nd overall in the 2012 NFL draft, not missing a single game for the team and contributing 29.5 sacks in four seasons, and producing 11 stuffs last season as well.
A franchise tag on Vernon means around $13.5 million in 2016, and that’s close to 10% of the team’s salary cap, which the Dolphins, short on cap space, simply can’t afford. There have been talks about trading him after using the franchise tag, although for now, the Dolphins prefer keeping him around, and finding a way to find the right number through negotiations. Only two players have a cap hit greater than $12 million in 2016 for 4-3 defensive ends: Mario Williams and Charles Johnson.