Carolina Panthers franchise tagging Taylor Moton is a no-brainer

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Moton
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Taylor Moton /

Using the franchise tag on stud right tackle Taylor Moton should be a no-brainer for the Carolina Panthers, according to Greg Rosenthal from Around the NFL.

The Carolina Panthers have plenty of decisions to make regarding current roster members this spring. More than 20 are currently out of contract heading into free agency, with the organization also trimming the fat with the recent releases of Kawann Short, Tre Boston, Michael Palardy, and Stephen Weatherly to save themselves a substantial amount of financial resources ahead of another critical offseason period in their rebuild under Matt Rhule.

What comes next over the next few weeks is going to shape the future of the franchise. New general manager Scott Fitterer has a big job on his hands that will ultimately center on getting an upgrade over Teddy Bridgewater at quarterback. But plenty of other key positional groups need fine-tuning if Carolina wants to get themselves in realistic postseason contention next time around.

One of the top priorities for the Panthers is sorting out the future of Taylor Moton. The right tackle is now undisputedly one of the NFL’s best edge protectors and there would be no shortage of suitors if Carolina somehow – and inexplicably – let him test the market.

That is something that simply shouldn’t happen. Moton’s influence on the Panthers cannot be understated and considering the uncertainty across almost every other position of the offensive line, letting him walk is not an option.

Carolina will try and tie down the former second-round pick to a long-term deal, which he more than deserves following three years of consistent performances. However, their recent moves to rid themselves of overpaid veterans make tagging Moton a realistic option if terms cannot be agreed by the deadline.

Carolina Panthers should tag Taylor Moton this offseason.

Gregg Rosenthal, who is the editor at Around the NFL, took a look at which players should or shouldn’t get the franchise tag this offseason and called using it to keep Moton in Carolina a “no-brainer“, and with good reason.

"Taylor Moton has evolved into one of the better right tackles in football. A one-year deal for $13.6 million sounds like a bargain if the team can’t complete a long-term pact."

This seems like one of the easiest decisions the Panthers will make this spring. Whether they get a franchise signal-caller such as Deshaun Watson from the Houston Texans or not, whoever is under center needs better protection and in Moton, they have a reliable presence who has proven ability in coping with even the most dominant edge rushers with ease.

Moton gave up three sacks and conceded two penalties on his way to an eye-catching 81.2 grade from Pro Football Focus in 2020. This couldn’t have come at a better time for the Western Michigan product, who is now a cornerstone of future success in Carolina and should be paid accordingly.

Head coach Matt Rhule and Fitterer are not fools. They’ll know just how indispensable Moton has become to their plans and should push the boat out to keep the tackle around long-term.

Playing on the franchise tag isn’t the most desirable for any veteran given the potential complications or an injury to financial security. So finding some middle ground on a multi-year extension is the best possible solution for all parties.

This would also give them more options – including a possible tag-and-trade – with Curtis Samuel, whose future is less certain after a standout 2020 season that saw him achieve 1,000 all-purpose yards for the first time in his career.