Franchise Tagging Season has Begun

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 13: Quarterback Matt Ryan
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 13: Quarterback Matt Ryan /

Teams will have a two week window to select players as the franchise tag period will officially close on 4 pm ET on March 6th.

This past Tuesday marked the official day that some NFL players hate as teams now have full right to start tagging away. As of this past Tuesday, NFL teams can officially mandate the franchise, or transition tag, on select players. Teams will have a 14-day window, from this past Tuesday, to select players as the franchise tag period will officially close on 4 pm eastern time on March 6th.

For those unfamiliar, the franchise tag allows NFL teams to keep a player under team control. Essentially, there are three tags to choose from:

  • Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag

The franchise tag that is most frequently employed, when people say ‘franchise tag’ this is the one they are referring to. This ‘tag’ is basically a single year contract that keeps the player on the team’s roster. The player receiving the tag will get a comfy paycheck, which will either be; greater than the mean of the highest 5 salaries at the player’s position over the last 5 years or 120% of his previous salary. NFL regulations mandate that the team pay the player whichever is the higher of the two. Additionally, the player that is being tagged has the option to contact and communicate with outside teams. However, the club retains the right to meet any offer or get a minimum of 2 first-round draft selections as recompense if the tagged player were to sign with a different team.

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  • Exclusive Franchise Tag

Like the previously mentioned tag, this requires teams to pay the player 120 percent of his pervious salary or, the mean of the highest 5 salaries at the player’s position for the current season – which is slightly different than the aforementioned tag. Whichever of those two are higher, regulations mandate the team to meet that amount. Another difference between the two is that this tag removes the player’s ability to negotiate with other teams. The difference in pay, current salary averages is higher than the average from the last five years, is only viable for players who are supreme at their position. In other words, players whom teams would not mind giving up two first-round picks for. Such as Kirk Cousins and Le’Veon Bell, both of whom received this very tag last year.

  • Transition Tag

This tag represents a small effort on behalf of the organization to try to maintain a player, albeit at a lower price than the other two tags. Like the other tags, this is a single year offer. However, unlike the other two, teams are only required to pay more than the mean of the highest 10 salaries at the player’s position, opposed to the highest 5 for the other franchise tags. Additionally, it warrants the original team the ‘right of first refusal’ to match any bid the athlete might get from outside teams. But on the other hand, the tagging club will not receive any compensation if the player decides to sign elsewhere, i.e. they opt not to match the offer.

Once a player has been tagged, that player has until 4 pm Eastern Time on July 16th to negotiate a multiple-year deal with another suitor. Following that date, the athlete can only sign a single year deal with the club that tagged him for the upcoming season, 2018 in this case. On top of that, the player cannot sign an extension until after the completion of the team’s Week 17 contest.

If a player has been tagged, that athlete can choose to sign the offer immediately. If they decide to wait, the team reserves the right to cancel the franchise/transition tag. We saw this happen to Josh Norman a few years back. In the case that the player chooses not to sign, they remain contract-less. This is interesting because players without contracts are exempt from fines that come from missing out on offseason workouts. We saw Le’Veon Bell take advantage of this last season.

Each NFL club is afforded one tag per year, and they cannot be mixed. A rescinded tag counts towards this tally. However, the same player may be tagged 3 times by the same team, with an increase in pay with each tag.

Next: Atlanta Defensively Next Season…

Keep an eye out on which players get franchise tagged this offseason as they could impact NFL futures betting odds.