NFL free agency 2023 rumors: Jaguars’ Evan Engram expected to be franchise tagged after standout season –

The Washington Commanders placed the franchise tag on star defensive tackle Daron Payne earlier this week, and now, another team is prepared to follow suit. The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to place the franchise tag on tight end Evan Engram, per ESPN. The tag pays $11.345 million in 2023.

Both Jaguars general manager Trent Baalke and Engram himself said earlier this offseason there was mutual interest on a contract extension. In fact, earlier this month, the Jaguars tweeted out a graphic of Engram’s stats in 2022, and Engram responded saying, “My heart dropped I thought this was the announcement.” It was fair to assume a deal was close.

Engram put together a career year for himself in 2022, as he caught 73 passes for a career-high 766 yards and four touchdowns in 17 games played. His 74.5-percent catch rate was a career-best as well. The former first-round pick of the New York Giants addressed the possibility of receiving the franchise tag in an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, and he didn’t appear to be too worried about it. It sounds like Engram and the Jaguars want to remain together for years to come, even if an extension does not happen this offseason.

“It’s a hypothetical, so it could happen, it could not,” Engram said about the franchise tag. “If that happens, I think that would be a place-holder to get something done. That’s just the way I feel about it. If it does come to that, there will be conversations I have with my team, and we’ll move forward from there. If that does happen, I’m going to be blessed either way. We’ll figure something out long-term that both sides will be happy with.”

Engram signed a fully-guaranteed deal worth $9 million last offseason. Spotrac projects he’s worth a three-year deal that carries an AAV of $9.3 million.

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