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NFL franchise tag 2018: Will the Jaguars use it?

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NFL: Tennessee Titans at Jacksonville Jaguars Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

NFL teams can begin using the franchise tag for the 2018 season starting on Tuesday, February 20th. The Jacksonville Jaguars don’t have a lot of candidates for the tag, but they do have one player in particular they could and probably should use it on: wide receiver Allen Robinson.

The franchise tag allows teams to keep hold of some of their pending free agents that are top talent in the form of a one-year, fully guaranteed deal. There are three different variations of the tag that teams use. The exclusive tag means a player cannot negotiate with anyone other than the team that tagged them, while the non-exclusive tag allows the player to negotiate with other teams once the free agency window opens. If the player agrees to a deal with another team, the tagging team can then either match the offer or allow the player to leave in exchange for two first-round draft picks. The third option is the much less used transition tag, which is essentially the non-exclusive tag without the picks portion.

For the Jaguars, they’ll have to decide how they want to approach trying to keep Allen Robinson, the team’s clear cut best wide receiver. Robinson’s absence last season, due to a torn ACL in Week 1, was noticeable through the year. While players like Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and Marqise Lee each stepped up at different times, none offered the type of consistency and play making ability that Robinson brings to the team.

While official numbers have not yet been released, the guess for someone like Robinson is the franchise tag would pay around $15.682 million guaranteed for 2018. I tend to lean on the Jaguars tagging Robinson, perhaps with the non-exclusive designation, or they’ll try to work out a short term deal to allow Robinson to prove he’s healthy, which would then get ripped up and a new deal signed after 2018.

Whether the Jaguars use the franchise tag or not, Allen Robinson is someone the Jaguars must absolutely keep in 2018.