Jordan Cameron Should Get the Franchise Tag


The Cleveland Browns should Franchise Tag Jordan Cameron. This is not a report that the Browns will or are even rumored to be planning to do so. Instead it is a belief that the Browns have no valid reasons not to give Cameron the tag. The Browns have until March 2nd to apply the tag to Cameron.

Update: Cameron favorited this article on Twitter shortly after it was posted. He has since “un-favorited” it but here is the screen shot:

This year feels a lot like last year did. Last year the Browns had T.J. Ward and Alex Mack entering free agency, they were the only two players the Browns had entering free agency that were considered high level players. This year the Browns have more functional players becoming free agents but only two, Cameron and Buster Skrine are considered high level. Jabaal Sheard could get paid, especially by a 4-3 team, and Brian Hoyer will likely be sought after in a very limited QB market.

Initial thought last year was that the Browns would try to re-sign either Ward or Mack and use a tag on the other. Instead the Browns let Ward walk, replacing him with Donte Whitner, and gave the rarely used Transition Tag on Mack. The Jacksonville Jaguars signed Mack to a contract and the Browns matched.

As the Browns season was going on, when they were 7 – 4, many thought that the Browns would struggle to keep Cameron and Brian Hoyer on the offense and Skrine and Sheard on the defense, all 4 seemed to have value for the team.

Instead we are left with the likelihood that Cameron is the only one likely to receive the tag. According to CBS Sports’ estimates, Hoyer’s tag would cost over $18 million, Skrine at almost $13 million and Sheard between $13 and $15 million. Those numbers count all three of them out of the conversation of being tagged.

Cameron on the other hand should be tagged because, according to CBS’ estimates, he will only cost a little over $8 million. With the Browns projected to have around $50 million in cap space, and reportedly no plan to spend greatly. That $8 million would be a drop in the bucket for a player one year from being a Pro Bowl tight end.

The Browns should also Franchise Tag Cameron because they are extremely limited at the tight end position. While Jim Dray and Gary Barnidge did fine as backups, the Browns don’t have a player that is considered starting level at the tight end position. With the Zone Blocking Scheme and play action passing West Coast system that John DeFilippo will be bringing in, a tight end who can block and catch is vital. Cameron has shown that he can be that player.

Finally, the Browns should tag Jordan Cameron because they keep the leverage with a player that is likely to be in demand. With the Franchise Tag the Browns can negotiate a trade with whatever team Cameron wants to sign with. If the Browns have decided to move on from Cameron, they can still benefit from his free agency. Say the Oakland Raiders want to sign him and offer a 3rd or 4th round pick to make it happen. The Browns get an important asset in exchange for a player they were moving on from. Even if they only get a lower pick or a young player in return, that is more than nothing.

More from Dawg Pound Daily

The risk is limited for the Browns. Cameron could quickly sign the tag, locking himself in at that $8 million range for one season. The team and Cameron could then negotiate a longer term deal. If things don’t seem to be working out as Free Agency gets going, the Browns could just revoke the tag before Cameron signs it. Worst case scenario for the Browns is that Cameron is forced to return and is unhappy. If he pouts he risks his future earnings.

So while the Browns have shown no indication that they are planning to using the tag on Jordan Cameron but there is little reason for them to not do so. They could keep a player that, when healthy (big if), is one of the best pass catching tight ends in the game. They also keep leverage if Cameron wants to move on and they can work out a trade with another team. No matter what, no point in letting Cameron walk for free.

Do you think the Browns tag Jordan Cameron?

Next: Todd McShay's Mock Draft 3.0