What Does The NFL Franchise Tag Mean?

The NFL franchise tag is a designation a team may apply to a player that allows the team to keep the player for one more year by paying him a predetermined salary.

What Does The NFL Franchise Tag Mean?

Introduction

In professional football, the franchise tag is a tool used by teams to retain key players by offering them a one-year contract at a price level above what they would receive on the open market. The tag gives the team exclusive negotiating rights with the player, meaning no other team can sign him during that offseason.

There are two types of franchise tags: the exclusive rights tag and the non-exclusive rights tag. The exclusive rights tag does not allow the player to negotiate with other teams, meaning he is effectively under contract for one year at the predetermined salary. The non-exclusive rights tag does allow the player to negotiate with other teams, but if he signs an offer sheet from another team, his current team has the right to match that offer and keep him under contract. If the team opts not to match, it will receive two first-round draft picks as compensation from the signing team.

The franchise tag can be applied to any NFL player whose contract has expired, but it is most commonly used on players who are considered among the best at their respective positions. Players who have been franchise tagged often seek long-term contracts worth much more than what they would earn under the one-year deal offered by the franchise tag. As a result, there is often tension between players and teams leading up to the deadline for applying the franchise tag.

What is the Franchise Tag?

The NFL franchise tag is a designation a team may apply to a player that they do not want to lose the rights to. It allows the team to keep the player for one more year by paying them a salary that is no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position, or 120% of the player’s previous salary, whichever is greater. The franchise tag can be used on one player per team each year.

The Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag

In short, the non-exclusive tag allows a team to retain the rights to a player by offering him a one-year contract worth the average of the top five salaries at his position, or 120 percent of his previous salary, whichever is greater. The player can negotiate with other teams, but if he signs an offer sheet from another club, his current team has the right to match the offer and keep him. If it declines to do so, it receives two first-round draft picks as compensation.

The Exclusive Franchise Tag

In professional football, the franchise tag is a tool used by teams to keep players from hitting the free agent market. The team applies the tag to a player, which gives that player a one-year contract with a salary that is no less than the average of the top five salaries at his position, or 120% of his previous salary, whichever is greater. The player can sign the tender and play under those terms, or he can hold out for a better deal.

The exclusive franchise tag is just what it sounds like—it ties the player to the team for one year at a higher salary than the non-exclusive tag. The team can still negotiate a long-term deal with the player, but no other team can make him an offer. The exclusive tag pays the player 120 percent of his prior year’s salary if he made less than $106 million in aggregate over his five most recent years in the league (or an amount determined by averaging the salaries of the top five players at his position). If he made more than $106 million over those years, he gets paid 140 percent of his prior year’s salary.

The Transition Tag

In addition to the franchise tag, each NFL team also has the option to use the transition tag on one impending free agent. The transition tag is similar to the franchise tag in that it essentially prevents the player from hitting the open market, but it comes with a few key differences.

First and foremost, the transition tag is significantly cheaper than the franchise tag. In 2019, the transition tag for quarterbacks was worth $18.5 million, compared to $26 million for the franchise tag. For all other position groups, the transition tag is worth $11.2 million less than the franchise tag (for a total of $16 million).

The other major difference between the franchise and transition tags is that teams can rescind the transition tag at any time, while they can only do so with the franchise tag within two weeks of free agency beginning. This gives teams more flexibility with the transition tag, as they can essentially use it as a placeholder until they figure out their long-term plans for a player.

Assuming a team doesn’t want to keep a player on either type of tags beyond one year, they can work out a long-term extension with the player at any point during the season. If no extension is reached by 4 p.m ET on the Tuesday after Week 10 of that season, thenthe player becomes ineligible for an extension until after his tagged season ends.

How is the Franchise Tag Calculated?

Under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement, the franchise tag is calculated as the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position, or 120 percent of the player’s previous salary, whichever is greater. The tag can be applied to players with expiring contracts who have accrued at least four years of NFL service. Players can be tagged a total of three times by their team.

The franchise tag prevents players from becoming free agents and signing with another team. However, the player can sign a one-year contract with their team for the amount of the franchise tag. If the player does not sign the contract, they cannot play for any team during that season.

The transition tag is similar to the franchise tag but gives the player’s original team less leverage in negotiations. The transition tag can be used on players with expiring contracts who have accrued at least four years of NFL service. The transition tag is calculated as the average of the top 10 salaries at the player’s position, or 120 percent of the player’s previous salary, whichever is greater.

The transition tag allows players to negotiate with other teams, but their original team has the right to match any offer made by another team. If their original team does not match an offer, they are not entitled to any compensation if the player signs with another team.

Players can be tagged a total of three times by their team under either system.

What are the Pros and Cons of the Franchise Tag?

The franchise tag is a tool that NFL teams can use to keep players from hitting the free agent market. It’s a one-year contract that pays the player an average of the top five salaries at his position. The tag can be used on one player per year and it cannot be used on the same player in consecutive years. Pros: The franchise tag gives teams a way to keep their best players from leaving in free agency. Cons: The franchise tag can be used to keep players from reaching their full potential by limiting their earning potential.

Pros

The franchise tag allows NFL teams to keep a key player on the roster for another season by paying him a one-year salary that is equal to the average of the top five salaries at his position, or 120% of his previous salary, whichever is greater. The tag can be used on players who are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents, and it gives the team until July 16 to work out a long-term contract with the player.

There are several benefits to using the franchise tag. First, it gives the team more time to negotiate a long-term deal with the player. Second, it ensures that the team will not lose the player to another team in free agency. And third, it allows the team to keep the player for one more season at a reasonable salary.

There are some drawbacks to using the franchise tag as well. First, it prevents the player from becoming an unrestricted free agent and negotiating with other teams. Second, it ties up a significant amount of salary cap space for one player. And third, it can lead to tension between the player and the team if a long-term deal is not reached by July 16.

Cons

-The numbers can be mind-boggling. In 2017, the transition tag for quarterbacks was $19.953 million. The non-exclusive franchise tag was $21.268 million, while the exclusive tag was a whopping $27.478 million.

-The exclusive tag effectively takes a player off the market. If another team wants to sign him, they have to give up two first-round picks to the player’s current team. For many teams, that’s simply too high a price to pay.

-Players can be Franchised multiple times in their careers. Once a player signs a long-term contract, they can’t be Franchised again unless it’s after their fourth NFL season and they’ve played less than 10 games that year due to injury.

-The transition tag can be rescinded by the team at any time, meaning the player is effectively left without a contract.

Conclusion

The franchise tag is a designation given by the NFL to a player who is considered to be one of the best at his position. The player is then given a one-year contract worth the average salary of the top five players at his position. This contract is guaranteed, meaning that if the player is injured during the season, he will still get paid. The franchise tag can be used on any players, but is most often used on quarterbacks, because they are considered to be the most important position in football.

Keyword: What Does The NFL Franchise Tag Mean?

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