Last Tuesday, the window opened up for NFL teams to use the franchise tag on one of their players for the 2021 season. For the Detroit Lions, the most logical use of the tag is on star wide receiver Kenny Golladay, who is headed for free agency if he cannot come to an agreement with the team by March 17.
The Lions, and all other NFL teams, have until March 9 to make a decision on if they’ll use the tag. On Tuesday, Lions general manager Brad Holmes addressed Golladay and the franchise tag decision that awaits without indicating exactly what the Lions planned to do.
“I don’t think there’s any debate that Kenny has shown the ability to be a No. 1 receiver in this league,” Holmes said. “With that skill set that everybody knows he has, that we all know he has, and being at where we’re at a roster standpoint, there’s also been no debate that Kenny has been at the forefront of our mind in terms of making sure that we make the best possible decision for not only the Lions but for Kenny.”
When asked more directly if the team was seeking a long-term deal with Golladay, Holmes chose to keep that information private out of respect for the process. However, he did note that their decision on Golladay will be public soon.
“I’m sure you’ll hear about what we’ll be doing shortly,” Holmes said.
Of course, that doesn’t really narrow down what the outcome could be. The franchise tag deadline is in a week, but free agency is just two weeks away. In other words, a decision has to be made in the next 14 or so days.
Part of the holdup for a Golladay decision is the cap situation. Detroit doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room with their finances, and the NFL salary cap number has yet to be finalized, so the Lions are having to prepare by simulating several different outcomes with the cap. The tag would cost the Lions an estimated $16.4 million in valuable cap space, but Holmes said even with the numbers still in flux, it hasn’t altered their decision-making process when it comes specifically to the franchise tag.
“That hasn’t been a deterrent in terms of us trying to make that decision in terms of the utilization of the tag,” Holmes said. “We are making plans and using our process in terms of going through every single scenario from what would be the (salary cap) floor to what the highest it probably could be just to make sure we’re prepared for anything that might come about. But it hasn’t really affected in terms of what our utilization (of the tag) will be.”