Why the Chiefs, 49ers used the franchise tag
The deadline for the NFL franchise tag is at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday.
Two teams have already decided to use the franchise tag, which binds the player to the team for one season.
Here’s a look at why the teams made the decision:
Linebacker Dee Ford, Kansas City Chiefs
Franchise tag salary: $15.4 million
Career highlights: 30.5 sacks (13 in 2018), 137 tackles, nine forced fumbles (seven in 2018), no interceptions
Why he was tagged: The Chiefs had no other strong candidate to become their franchise player, so they could negotiate a long-term deal knowing they had this option with Ford if their efforts failed. Don’t discount the possibility the sides could still reach a multiyear agreement before the deadline this summer. Ford also seemed to welcome the possibility of becoming the franchise player. He said late last season that it was a “no-brainer” for him to sign the one-year tender if the Chiefs made him their franchise player.
What he brings: Ford in 2018 finally lived up to the potential the Chiefs saw in him when they drafted him in the first round in 2014. Ford had 13 sacks, tied for seventh, but also forced seven fumbles, which tied for best in the league. Ford’s quick first step proved to be difficult for opposing offensive tackles to deal with. Ford probably will move positions this year, to a 4-3 defensive end from a 3-4 linebacker. But he has the background as a hand-on-the-ground end from his collegiate days at Auburn, so the transition shouldn’t be a major one. — Adam Teicher
Kicker Robbie Gould, San Francisco 49ers
Franchise tag salary: $4.971 million
Career highlights: 87.7 percent career field-goal percentage ranks second in league history among kickers with 100 or more attempts; 82-of-85 field goals over past three seasons for an NFL-best 96.5 percent rate in that time; ranks first in NFL history with a 78.4 percent conversion rate on field goals of 50-plus yards (minimum of 20 attempts)
Why he was tagged: The 49ers and Gould didn’t come all that close to finalizing a long-term deal as rumblings of a possible Gould-Chicago Bears reunion ran rampant. But Gould has been one of the Niners’ most consistent performers, and for a team that has made a habit of playing close games — they’ve played 12 games decided by three points or fewer over the past two seasons — having Gould means having peace of mind.
What he brings: Simply put, good, reliable kickers are hard to find. In coach Kyle Shanahan’s first seven years as an offensive playcaller, his kickers made just 76.4 percent of field goal attempts, which was last in the NFL in that time. Given Gould’s production, there was no scenario in which the Niners were going to let him walk. It’s also why they’d like to sign him beyond this season. — Nick Wagoner