NFL rumors: Why it makes sense for Jets to franchise tag Marcus Maye, who they can’t afford to lose in free agency

The NFL’s franchise tag window opened Tuesday.

That means the Jets have two weeks — before the window closes March 9 — to decide what to do with safety Marcus Maye, one of their few foundational, young players.

The Jets simply cannot afford to lose Maye, a pending free agent. So if they can’t work out a long-term contract with him before March 9, they need to franchise tag him.

It makes perfectly reasonable sense for several reasons, as Jets general manager Joe Douglas prepares for the March 15 start of free agency (which is when the negotiating window opens).

First of all, Maye’s franchise tag figure isn’t that high — $11.196 million, according to overthecap.com’s projection. And the Jets have plenty of salary cap space — $67.948 million, according to overthecap.com’s estimate, which is based on a projected $180.5 million cap.

Douglas would still be able to make moves in free agency even while Maye’s tag figure of about $11 million counts against the Jets’ cap. Plus, tagging Maye would give Douglas more time to negotiate a contract with him. July 15 is the deadline for a franchise-tagged player to receive a long-term deal from his team. Otherwise, he must play the 2021 season on the tag.

Maye, who turns 28 on March 9, blossomed into a leader last season, after the Jets traded safety Jamal Adams to Seattle. More importantly, Maye thrived on the field for the second…

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