With Bashaud Breeland potentially being the best cornerback on the free agent market, the KC Chiefs should consider using the transition tag to some maintain contract leverage.
The Kansas City Chiefs will have some tough decisions to make this offseason and one that isn’t being talked about enough is what they should regarding Bashaud Breeland, who is hitting the free agent market.
Before we dive in, let’s cover what the transition tag is in the National Football League. Per NFL.com, a transition tag is…
Think of this as the “you are pretty good, and we might want to keep you, but aren’t willing to put a ring on you ourselves” tag. The transition designation is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount that is the average of the top 10 salaries at the position — as opposed to top five. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player might receive from another team, but no compensation if the team chooses not to match.
For this discussion, we are going to anticipate Chris Jones receiving the franchise tag. That is why it is not considered for this article. Also, in normal years, teams are only allowed to tag one player, with either the franchise or transition tag, but because the end of the CBA is here, teams are allowed to use both tags specifically this offseason.
Currently, I value Carolina Panthers cornerback James Bradberry as the top overall cornerback eligible to hit the market this offseason, however, I do not anticipate him actually getting there, as a likely franchise tag and/or extension is likely with the young corner.
The team applying a transition tag is afforded then the right to match any offer, but if they choose not to, there is no return compensation as there is with the franchise tag. Two years ago, Bears corner Kyle Fuller received the transition tag, signed an offer sheet with the Green Bay Packers, and the Bears then matched the offer, keeping Fuller in the Windy City.
These are last year’s values set at a $188.2 million salary cap. For rough calculations, if we simply increase the tag numbers by the percentage increase from the 2019 to the projected 2020 salary cap ($200 million) equates to an increase of 5.9%. If the 2019 value of a cornerback transition tag is $13.703 million, a 2020 tag for Breeland would come out to about $14.511 million.
Now that is a significant financial commitment by the Chiefs going into free agency, especially considering they would possibly be carrying Jones’ franchise tag number as well (likely around $16.106 million). However, in my recent piece about the valuation of Breeland, this number falls in line with his market value.
So why should Brett Veach and the Chiefs at least consider this option? There are two reasons.
First, the tag could potentially keep Breeland in Kansas City for another season, allowing time to work on a contract extension. By using the tag, the Chiefs do surrender a significant level of leverage in negotiations, however, the organization has an idea what Breeland is looking for and what they value him at.
Breeland is perhaps the team’s most important free agent due to the depth issues at corneback without him. This allows them to work out a deal.
Secondly, if they can’t get a deal done, it provides a level of wiggle room for the organization to work out a trade should a team be interested in his services. How would that work? Simple, for the sake of discussion, pick a team in the NFL that’s not the Chiefs and they really want.
Said team calls Veach and offers him a draft pick to acquire the rights to the cornerback. If the Chiefs can’t reach a deal themselves OR trade offer is significant enough to warrant the trade, this is an option.
Also, and this goes for not just Breeland, but all free agents on the Chiefs – Fans are going to now experience the pain of winning a Super Bowl.
Perhaps its recency bias or that it’s an organization believing bringing in a ‘winner’ will add extra juice to their roster, whatever the reason, Super Bowl winning teams are often raided the upcoming offseason. We’ve seen it for years.
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There will be a Kansas City Chiefs free agent that will sign a contract that will make your jaw hit the floor. We obviously don’t know who yet, but rest assured, it will happen.
So – Should the Chiefs consider using the transition tag on Bashaud Breeland?