As most of you know the NFL uses something called a “Franchise Tag” to help smaller market teams remain competitive each season. A team can put either an exclusive, or non – exclusive tag on a player pending free agency. Teams will usually apply these to the players they feel are building blocks for the future of their organization. The franchise tag extends that player’s contract for one more year to accommodate negotiations. An exclusive tag means that the player cannot speak to any other team while negotiations are taking place. A non–exclusive tag means that the player is allowed to negotiate with other teams but with one stipulation, if the player likes an offer from another team his current team has the ability to match it before any papers have been signed. Applying an exclusive tag comes with a higher salary requirement for the tagged player. This alleviates the pressure on smaller market teams to not invest all of their money into a player that might not be living up to their initial projections.
Little side story, growing up I never knew what the term franchise tag actually meant. I thought that if a team gave that out then that player was paid the max contract and was on that team for the remainder of their career, unless it was given to someone else. I was sort of on the right track, but also way off. Funny yet embarrassing realization.
So Bills fans, if you had the chance to give three players a “Fan–chise” tag from the current Bills roster, which players would those be? Let’s say for arguments sake that this is the last day of the 2014 season and every Bills player is to become a free agent next season. Here are mine.
1. C.J. Spiller – #28 is a player that the Buffalo Bills should never get rid of. Two years ago Spiller had his break out year and did so as the backup to Fred Jackson. In 2013 he didn’t appear to have the same impact. I think it had a lot to with his ongoing injury with his ankle, never being physically capable of performing at 100% as well along with teams having a whole offseason to prepare for the newest NFL Thriller. Regardless, imagining the Bills trading C.J. is flashing images in my head of another Beast Mode mistake. (Purely on field play)
2. E.J. Manuel – Is one of the 12 different starting Quarterbacks that the Bills have had since the year 2000. Is it just me getting a little frustrated with just flipping a coin up in the air wondering who will be under center next week, or have we finally found the future? The composure that this rookie showed me in 2013 said it all. The clutch factor is unteachable and E.J. Manuel has shown us in his young career that he doesn’t fold under pressure. It raised a lot of eyebrows when E.J. Manuel was taken so early by the Bills but that might be why we are watching the draft on TV and not the ones selecting these players. Had us fans had it our way we would of never selected such a bright and athletically gifted player to take the reigns of this team.
3. Kiko Alonso – #Thelegendofkiko should live on in Buffalo until he hangs up the pads for good. The next Brian Urlacher? May be too early to make that claim but this guy has the potential to change the face of the Bills organization. Is it coincidence that the first season we have Kiko is the season that we break the all-time sack record? I don’t believe in coincidences, I believe in consistency. With the slight position change to the outside this season will Kiko have the same impact on the game? I’m willing to bet he does.
If any one of these players were to walk away from the Buffalo Bills organization I feel it would leave a tremendous hole in our team. The future of the Bills is here, and it is now. The pieces are starting to come together and we can’t afford to take any more steps backwards. In my opinion, solidifying the lifetime contracts with these three players should be a priority.
But thats my oppinion, who are YOUR “fan-chise” players on this Buffalo Bills team?