A Look at the Different Franchise Tags

Published on February 27th, 2020 5:18 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

The King explains what Franchise Tags are in the sport of American football and what types there are. There are three different types of franchise tags - the non-exclusive franchise tag, the exclusive franchise tag and the transition tag.

The franchise tags are an owner-friendly way of maintaining control over players when they are unable or unwilling to grant the player a long-term deal. The goal of practically every player in the NFL is to sign a long-term deal with guaranteed money - franchise tags are not popular with players.

The most common tag is the "non-exclusive franchise tag" - most of the players that sign franchise tags will be signed to the non-exclusive franchise tag. The transition tag and exclusive franchise tags are quite rare.

Let's take a look at the key differences between the three tags:

Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag

With the non-exclusive franchise tag, teams are agreeing to pay the tagged player on a one-year deal at an amount that is the higher of:

1) Average of the top five salaries at the player's position for the past five years

2) 120% of the player's previous salary

Players have the right to negotiate with other teams if they receive the non-exclusive franchise tag, though the organization will have the right to match.

In addition, if a team loses a player and decides not to match, they will receive two first-round picks from the team that signs the player. So, a heavy price.

Exclusive Franchise Tag

With the exclusive franchise tag, the player will receive the greater of the top five salaries at the player's position for the CURRENT year (big difference from the average of the past five years) or 120% of their previous salary - whichever is greater.

Players who sign the exclusive franchise tag can not negotiate with other teams.

A few years ago, the Pittsburgh Steelers used the exclusive franchise tag on Le'Veon Bell, though he elected not to sign it, as he felt as though the average salary of the top five running backs would have been an underpay, given his pass-catching abilities.

Transition Tag

The transition tag is not used that much as it puts the team in a compromising position, as players are eligible to negotiate with other teams, though a signing team wouldn't have to provide any sort of compensation to the team that loses the player.

The downside for the player? They receive the average of the top 10 salaries at their position on a one-year tender, rather than the top 5 salaries.

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