Patriots a ‘Landing Spot’ for 17.5-Sack Star Who Could Get Franchise Tag

Josh Allen, a potential Patriots target if he is not franchise-tagged.

Getty Josh Allen, a potential Patriots target if he is not franchise-tagged.

There’s no telling what might happen in free agency, of course, but one of the top targets for the Patriots could soon be off the board. Pro Football Focus lists the Patriots as a “potential landing spot” for Jaguars star edge rusher Josh Allen, but several reports have since emerged that Allen could get a franchise tag from Jacksonville and stay put, at least for one more year.

Signing Allen would be a major move on the Patriots defense, and somewhat of a surprise for a team expected to focus on rebuilding a very broken offense. The Patriots scored 236 points last season, which was 31st in the NFL. But the Patriots are loaded with cap space, at more than $83 million with more potentially on the way with further roster cuts.

The Pats could afford to boost the defense while remaking the offense, in other words. But the increase in the cap number could make the Jags more likely to give Allen the $24 million one-year franchise tag.

Josh Allen Likely to Get Franchise Tag

Allen would represent quite the boost for the Patriots defense. Last season, he finished with 17.5 sacks and 33 quarterback hits, and earned his second Pro Bowl selection. Allen is rated the No. 3 edge rusher on the market.

As PFF wrote last week, naming Carolina as another potential spot for the Jags star: “Allen backed up a strong 2022 with an extraordinary 2023 season, racking up career highs in quarterback pressures (69) and sacks (13.5) already through Week 14, coupled with a 20.1% pass-rush win rate that ranked among the league’s best.

“Carolina hypothetically swaps Allen in for Brian Burns, or New England makes a huge free-agent splash on the edge.”

But ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Sunday, via Bleacher Report, “Jacksonville Jaguars star edge-rusher Josh Allen is ‘largely expected’ to receive the $24 million franchise tag this offseason, as ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported on Sunday’s ‘SportsCenter,’ though ‘they haven’t done it yet, so we’ll see.’”

If he did not get the franchise tag, Spotrac projects his market value to be about the same on a per-year basis as the tag number—$23.9 million. But given his age, Spotrac projects Allen getting a five-year deal totaling $120 million.

Patriots Offseason Plan for Matthew Judon in Question

Of interest, too, in the possible pursuit of Josh Allen is the fact that the Patriots are apparently open to the possibility that star edge rusher Matthew Judon will land elsewhere next season. Judon, who is 31, missed 13 games last season with a torn biceps muscle, and is heading into the final year of his contract.

He did have 15.5 sacks in 2022, and had four sacks in four games this year, but the Patriots could offer him up to a contender. Judon had made four straight Pro Bowl appearances before last year’s injury.

Judon had a “soft” holdout at training camp last year and, heading into this final year of the contract, he could be adamant about wanting a contract extension this offseason. But the Patriots are trying to go younger, and at age 26, a guy like Allen is a better fit.




Read More