Report: Taylor Moton to be franchise tagged, but what next?

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Moton
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Moton /

A recent report suggests the Carolina Panthers will use the franchise tag on offensive lineman Taylor Moton this offseason.

The Carolina Panthers are reportedly looking to place the franchise tag on one of their best players to prevent them from leaving for nothing in free agency. According to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports, sources close to the reporter state that Taylor Moton will be given this designation ahead of 2021 free agency, which will ensure the stud right tackle remains with the franchise next season.

This is good news and a smart decision from the Panthers as Moton is unquestionably one of the best in the business when it comes to protecting the edge. His level of production over the last three seasons has been nothing short of outstanding and the former second-round pick has emerged as somebody that Carolina can build around as they look to enter the playoff discussion sooner rather than later.

With finances being tight due to COVID-19 revenue losses, La Canfora added that getting Moton tied down to a lengthy extension is not out of the realms of possibility – with the recent megabucks deal given to Ronnie Stanley of the Baltimore Ravens a good measuring stick regarding what the Western Michigan product could earn moving forward.

"There is no doubt about this scenario as Taylor Moton has emerged into one of the better tackles in the game. He isn’t going anywhere. He is getting the tag, sources said, and the Panthers want to secure his services well into the future, with the extension Ronnie Stanley did midseason with the Ravens a possible template."

What next for Taylor Moton and the Carolina Panthers?

There are very few players in the NFL these days who welcome competing under the franchise tag. One only has to look at the complications with Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott in 2020 to see just what a precarious position it can be. So the ideal situation for all parties is to get Moton extended long-term and provide the tackle with the sort of financial security his performances warrant.

Placing the tag on Moton gives Carolina more time to work out a deal, at the very least.

If all else fails, they’ll have their premier protector around in 2021 as the Panthers look to build further momentum in the second year of Matt Rhule’s tenure.

There promises to be a considerable amount of change to Carolina’s offensive line in free agency and the NFL Draft, which is more than welcome given their inability to provide adequate protection last time out.

Sorting out Moton’s situation is priority No. 1 and providing better reinforcements are secured, it could be the catalyst behind even more success when competitive action gets underway in 2021.

It is going to cost around $13.6 million to franchise tag Moton, which is a substantial increase from the $1.03 million in base salary he earned in 2020. Few would argue he isn’t worthy of such a substantial pay rise, with the player turning out in every offensive snap this season – giving up just three sacks and conceding two penalties on his way to an eye-catching 81.2 grade from Pro Football Focus.

Getting this sorted nice and early would be a statement of intent from the Panthers, who remain focused on getting an upgrade on Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback before OTAs begin.

Moton is an integral part of their plans, of that there is little doubt.

Keeping him on the roster in whatever shape or form is the only possible option for an elite tackle who is just entering his prime. Moton would prefer a longer-term commitment, which Carolina should be willing to provide. But the early signs are promising regarding the team’s desire to keep him from hitting the free-agent market, where there would be a queue of suitors.