Earlier today, during an interview with Pro Football Talk, Carolina Panthers newly appointed head coach Ron Rivera was asked about the teams intentions for their franchise tag. Rivera mentioned that the team has discussed the idea but has yet to settle on a specific player.
“We will,” Rivera said. “We’re in the middle of discussions trying to make sure we get everything set and when we decide to put it on the right guy. I think for one reason or the other we’ve got some obvious candidates, some guys that we truly like on our football team and guy that we want to most certainly keep, and unfortunately there’s only one tag you can use, so we’re trying to decide on that.”
Williams is considered one of the best running backs in the league even though his 2010 season was a disappointment. The Panthers do have Johnathan Stewart and Mike Goodson on the roster so there’s a chance that they may not want to commit that kind of money to a position of strength. The Miami Dolphins have already made it known that Williams is one of their top priorities if he becomes available.
Center Ryan Kalil is another player that’s considered one of the best in the NFL and the franchise tag could reach $10 million for an offensive lineman so tagging Kalil would be a little surprising given the price.
As for Johnson, he’s coming off of his best season in which he totaled 11.5 sacks. One thing worth considering is that Rivera is a defensive-minded coach and his comments during todays interview with PFT indicates that he plans to address the defense at some point. What better way than securing their best pass-rusher?
It will be interesting to see what direction they choose to go but it would still be surprising to see them let DeAngelo Williams go.