The deadline has come and gone for NFL teams to use one of the free agent tags they may use once per year. Teams can designate an impending free agent with either the franchise tag or the transition tag.
The Cardinals elected to use neither of them.
The two candidates that would have made the most sense are defensive tackle Zach Allen and cornerback Byron Murphy.
The Cardinals have not used the franchise tag on a player since Chandler Jones in 2016 but did use the transition tag on running back Kenyan Drake in 2020.
The franchise tag keeps a player from becoming a free agent, paying him either 120% of his previous year’s salary or the average of the top-five highest salaries for a player at that position, whichever is more.
The non-exclusive tag allows the player to negotiate deals with other teams, but the tagging team has the right match the offer sheet and, if the player is allowed to sign with the new team, that new team gives up two first-round draft picks.
The transition pays the player the average of the top 10 salaries and gives the tagging team the right to match any offer, although no draft compensation is given if the player signs with the other team.
Using the tag gives the team and player a window until July to strike a long-term deal.
Had the Cardinals used the franchise tag on Allen, it would have paid him either $18.9 million or $19.7 million in 2023, depending on his position designation.
Murphy would have been paid $18.1 million under the franchise tag.
The Cardinals would like to keep both players but it is unknown whether they will be able to financially.
Allen is coming off a career year but missed games to injury for the fourth consecutive season. Murphy played his best ball as well but missed the final half of the season with a back injury.
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Story originally appeared on Cards Wire