The Jacksonville Jaguars are not planning on placing the franchise tag on cornerback Derek Cox, or any of their other pending free agents.
New Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell, who is in Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine this week, told the media that he is not planning on using his franchise tag this year. Caldwell did mention, however, that he would be meeting this week with Cox’s agent in hopes of getting a deal done before the start of free agency on March 12.
The decision to not franchise Cox likely has a lot to do with his inability to stay healthy during his career with the Jaguars. Cox has missed 14 games over the past two seasons, and 17 total games throughout his four years in the NFL. If the Jaguars would have used the franchise tag on Cox, they would have been on the hook for a fully guaranteed one-year deal worth in the neighborhood of $10 million if they could not work out a new contract.
If a deal is not done with Cox prior to the start of free agency it is unlikely that he will be in a Jaguars uniform next year. Cox is entering his prime and has been a solid cornerback when he has been healthy enough to play, so it would not be surprising to see a team closer to contention offer him a big free agent contract that the Jaguars would not be willing to match.
If the Jaguars cannot keep Cox, they will have a massive need at the cornerback position, and will likely need to find at least two starters on the market or in the draft this off-season.