I'd like to start by saying that I do not believe Jake Long is anywhere near worth $15m per year. However, with the franchise tag, that $15 million will be a one-time cost. It will not cripple our cap for years to come. This would give us a chance to see if Jake can come back from his injuries. If he plays like he played last year, we let him walk. If he steps up and plays like the franchise LT we came to expect, we sign him long term. IMO, our oline will deterioate significantly without Long. I like Martin, but he was flat out getting owed in the NE game. It was painful to watch. He is just not ready to start at LT in this league. I like him as a RT, but not as a LT. If we let Long go, we are again CREATING A BIG GAPING HOLE, just as we did when we let Marshall go. We can't keep creating holes and expecting to get better. This needs to be an offseason where we get better, where we fill holes not create them. Franchising Long would free us up from needing to take an OL early in the draft. We have plenty of cap and using $15m for just one year to see what we have in Jake is worth it.
I know the cost is steep, but it really won't affect us long term (and we have plenty of cash in the short term), so why not? I'd rather pay Jake $15m for one year and if he sucks, let him go. If he ends up playing great, how miserable would we all be? Especially if our Oline starts looking like it used to in the 2004-2006 time frame. We need to protect our young QB just as much as we need to get him weapons. To me franchsing Long is the best risk/reward option we have. If we sign Jake long term with a big contract and his play continues to decline, that would be a much bigger risk than simply paying $15m for just one year and then cutting ties completely. Also, letting him walk is a big risk too as we do not have enough depth at tackle.
What say you?