Tuesday is the first day NFL teams are allowed to apply the franchise or transition tag to impending free agents. Since 2019, when Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider made off with a wheelbarrow full of bounty in trade from the Kansas City Chiefs for defensive end Frank Clark, fans are quick to propose a tag and trade. In particular, this season fans have clamored for the team to apply the tag and then trade cornerback Shaquill Griffin.
This is a great idea in theory, however, its execution is where issues arrive and the decreased cap this season could scuttle any such attempts to do so. Specifically, in order for a team to even be able to use the tag and trade maneuver, it must be in compliance with the salary cap at the opening of the new league year with the franchise tag tender amount fitting under the cap.
For the Hawks, who as Field Gulls looked at earlier Monday are currently looking at having $7,354 in cap space for 2021, tagging and trading Griffin would require significant maneuvering. Specifically, based on a salary cap of $182.5M, the non-exclusive franchise tag for a cornerback would be $15.059M, and as noted above teams must be in compliance with the salary cap on the day the league year opens. In addition, as the trade deadline for the 2020 NFL league year has already passed, no trades can be formally processed until the new league year starts on March 17.
So, what that means is that the Seahawks would have to first create enough cap space for the team to fit a franchise tag for Griffin somewhere in the neighborhood of $15.059M under the cap, and only after the new league year begins would they be able to trade Griffin. In short, the only way to even consider a tag and trade for Griffin would be to create the necessary cap space to carry him on the roster between now and March 17 and then carry the $15.059M cap hit associated with the franchise tag through the start of the new league year and then trade him.
That is, of course, before even getting into the question of whether other teams would have an interest in trading for Griffin at that cap number, especially given the cap constraints that roughly half of the league is facing due to the pandemic and associated revenue decline. Basically, at the end of the day, while it would be fantastic for the team to be able to amass additional draft capital by tagging and trading a player, the ability to do so with Griffin and the market for his services at the cap hit that would come with the tag combine to make it seem an extremely unlikely scenario.