Who gets the tag? Short answer: no one.
To arrive at this answer, we need to first understand how the franchise tag process works in the NFL. For a detailed explanation, click here. To put it simply: when a team and pending free agent cannot agree on a potential long-term deal, the team can use its one "franchise tag" to sign the player to a mandatory one-year contract. The salary of the one-year contract for that player is calculated averaging the top five players at that position, or set at 120% of that player’s previous year’s salary – whichever is higher.
So why will the Saints not use the franchise tag on any of its pending free agents? Frankly, because none of them are worth it.
Here is a list of pending free agents:
TE Josh Hill, G Tim Lelito, S Rafael Bush, TE Benjamin Watson, DT Kevin Williams, TE Michael Hoomanawanui, LB Anthony Spencer, QB Luke McCown, CB Kyle Wilson, S Jamarca Sanford, G Mike McGlynn, LT Tony Hills, K Kai Forbath, RB Tim Hightower, LB James Anderson, QB Matt Flynn, CB Christopher Owens, RB Kendall Hunter, RB Travaris Cadet, and WR Seantavius Jones.
Do any of those players scream "Top 5 at Their Position" to you? A franchise tag is only really worth it if the player tagged is a premium talent at their position (think Jimmy Graham being tagged in 2014 or Drew Brees in 2012). Fortunately or unfortunately, none of the Saints pending free agents really fall into that category.
Yes, there are plenty of players in the above list the Saints would love to bring back (Watson, Hoomanawanui, and Cadet to name a few). If or when the Saints agree on a deal to bring any of their free agents back, it would be on a deal significantly cheaper than what a franchise tag would cost.
Don’t worry: the Saints are not alone. The majority of teams across the NFL aren’t predicted to use their franchise tag. Using or not using the tag says little to nothing about the quality of the roster or the expectations that team should have heading into the next season. It simply means none of that team’s unrestricted free agents are worthy of the tag.