3 worst NFL players to get franchise tagged in 2023 feat. Cowboys' Tony Pollard

Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars v Houston Texans

The period for NFL teams to apply the franchise tag ended on Tuesday and only six players were designated as franchise players.

Three running backs got the designation: Saquon Barkley of the New York Giants, Josh Jacobs of the Las Vegas Raiders and Tony Pollard of the Dallas Cowboys. The Giants also used Tuesday to extend the contract of quarterback Daniel Jones, who was a possible tag option.

Other players who got the designation were Washington Commanders defensive tackle Daron Payne, Jacksonville Jaguars tight end Evan Engram, and shockingly, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson.

Let's analyze who were the worst players to receive such an important designation and why their teams might've made a mistake.

3 worst players to get the franchise tag in 2023

1 - Evan Engram, TE

Engram was a longtime New York Giants tight end who signed a one-year deal with the Jaguars in 2022 and played well enough for the team not to risk losing him to the market. His 766 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns are very good numbers for the position and you can understand why the Jaguars did not want to lose one of Trevor Lawrence's favorite weapons, avoiding the risk of hampering his development.

2 - Tony Pollard, RB

Pollard has established himself as the best running back in the Dallas Cowboys organization, but he does not have the same financial security as Ezekiel Elliott. Although no one questions his talent, he's still a tier below the elite running backs in the league. It's also worth noting that he suffered a major injury during his last game played and is still recovering. The franchise tag was actually a good deal for him.

3 - Daron Payne, DT

Now, Payne is coming from an excellent season with double-digit sacks. But it's undeniable that he has to show more in his future to prove that he has established himself as one of the elite defensive linemen in the league. He had only 14.5 sacks during his first four years and had a breakout year with 11.5. There needs to be more consistent play from him to prove that his flashes are not just flashes.

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