We have our first franchise tag news of 2021.
NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Friday the Carolina Panthers are expected to franchise tag offensive tackle Taylor Moton, according to a source informed of the situation.
Rapoport added that sides have not given up on getting a long-term deal done in the coming days, and the team is keeping options open because that's the goal, but the tag is likely to come down if a long-term deal isn't struck in the next four days.
The franchise tag window closes Tuesday, March 9.
The exact franchise tender figures are not set until the salary cap is announced, but projections suggest the tag for offensive linemen in 2021 will sit around $13.6 million.
Moton, the No. 10 player on NFL.com's top 101 free agent list, was the Panthers' best offensive lineman in 2020, and it wasn't particularly close. Hanging on to the 26-year-old who started every game the past three seasons was a priority. A stellar pass and run blocker, Moton allowed just three sacks on 1,057 snaps in 2020, per Pro Football Focus. Carolina was never going to let Moton hit the open market. The tag will ensure he's a Panther for at least one more season.
Once the tag is officially applied, sides will have until mid-July to hammer out a long-term deal, or Moton will play under the one-year tender.