Play Tag with StevieFebruary 22nd, 2012 at 10:10 pm by Paul Peck under 4 Warn Weather
While Stevie Johnson maybe an offensive player, I’m here to tell you the Bills need to be DEFENSIVE with their soon-to-be free agent wide receiver. They need to make sure he doesn’t walk out of Buffalo without the Bills getting anything in return.
That means they need to play tag with Johnson. They need to put the franchise or transition tag on him.
Yes, the $9.4 million dollars a year franchise tag is way too much for what Johnson’s worth. But the Bills are not up against the salary cap, so it doesn’t really matter. They can handle that amount and it shouldn’t effect their ability to make other moves. It’s about protecting an asset until THEY decide what to do. It’s about not letting a young, talented and valuable player leave for nothing. It’s not about that inflated dollar amount, it’s about being defensive and covering yourself. If you can sign a free agent wideout like a Dwayne Bowe, then you drop the tag and let Stevie walk. If you’ve decided you want another type of receiver (non-celebration focused category), then you trade Stevie. But you have that option if you tag him. You can also let Stevie play the season on the tag, and then make a decision next year.
Don’t forget the transition tag is also still available, at a lesser price and without any compensation.
Plus, a tag on Stevie would allow negotiations to continue while Johnson also knows he’ll get big bucks this coming season. But none of it is guaranteed, a reason why the player doesn’t usually want the tag. But so what.
I don’t think Johnson is worth paying #1 receiver money. I think the Bills need to find their top guy in the draft or free agency. But I do understand that guy isn’t here yet, and letting Stevie depart leaves a big hole in the offense. So this plan is the best way to protect the team, maintain the asset and allow them to keep looking for an upgrade. That may be the best defensive game plan we’ll have seen all year.