Before coming to DC to serve as Washington’s Senior Vice President of Football Administration, Rob Rogers worked alongside Ron Rivera in Carolina for nine years as as the team’s Executive Director of Player Finance and Football Research. By most accounts, Rogers was brought over to serve as “the salary cap guy,” replacing former “salary cap guy” Eric Schaffer after his departure early last year.
JLC says Rivera is eyeing this guy, Rob Rogers, to replace Schaffer. 25 years with Carolina. pic.twitter.com/C3P6PFU4Tf
— Burgundy Blog (@BurgundyBlog) January 6, 2020
I thought it would be interesting to look back at the last decade or so of franchise tags in Carolina to see if it might provide any illumination on the way Rogers/Rivera/Hurney could handle contraction negotiations moving forward. That evaluation is below:
2011 – Ryan Kalil (C)
In 2011, the Panthers were able to use the franchise tag on their second round pick, Kalil, as the basis for negotiation on a long term contract, locking him into a 6-year deal with the team. They later extended him for two additional years, locking up the 2-time All Pro through 2018.
2012 – No tag
2013 – No tag
2014 – Greg Hardy (DE)
Coming off a second team All Pro season, and not yet the focus of domestic violence allegations, Hardy was tagged in February of 2014. After playing one game that year, his alleged assault on his ex-girlfriend got him placed on the the Commissioner’s Exempt List. Hardy wouldn’t play another game for the Panthers and became a free agent the following year.
2015 – No tag
2016 – Josh Norman (CB)
Initially, the Panthers used the non-exclusive franchise tag on the first team All Pro in 2016. However, once they realized that they weren’t going to get a long-term deal struck with the cornerback, they rescinded the tag in late April. At that point, Norman became a free agent. The rest, as they say, is, unfortunately, history for Washington, who signed Norman to a ridiculously overpriced contract that he was never able to live up to.
2017 – Kawann Short – DT
The Panthers placed the franchise tag on their second team All Pro in February 2017 and used it to negotiate a long term contract with him. Short signed a five-year deal in April of that year, and remained on the team through the end of the 2020 season.
2018 – No tag
2019 – No tag
2021 – Brandon Scherff (G)
Despite having tagged the All Pro for a second time, the team was unable to get a long term deal done with him before the July deadline.
In appears that Rob Rogers and his former Carolina colleagues are about as likely, in any given year, to apply the tag as they are to pass over using it. However, when they do use it, there’s a clear trend of applying it to the very top performing players. All five of the players tagged in Carolina/Washington were coming off of first or second team All Pro seasons, and were among the best players on the team at the time (which isn’t much of a surprise).
In two cases, the team was able to apply the tag and leverage it to orchestrate very long term deals with players. In Norman’s case, they yanked the tag when they saw a long term deal wasn’t going to happen – much to his dismay. Hardy’s situation exploded because of off-the-field troubles before any sort of long term resolution could be reached.
I firmly believe that Rivera (and Rogers) had every intention of signing Scherff to a long term deal, but that, particularly on the second tag, they had little leverage.
Ron Rivera says the team is interested in a long-term deal with Brandon Scherff. But since he signed his tag, they haven’t talked. They’re going to pay attention to what else is happening and see how things go.
— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) April 1, 2021
The trends here, to me, speak to Rogers and Rivera generally using the tag, in good faith, to try to elongate long term contract negotiations, rather than as a way to simply tack on an extra, relatively inexpensive, contract year to a young player’s contract.
I still think they’ll reach a long term deal with Jonathan Allen this offseason – where he’ll be playing on his 5th year option – but if they don’t, and they apply the tag next year, it will likely be with the goal of getting a long term deal in place, if the front office’s past history is any predictor of future behavior.
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