NFL Franchise Tag Update

franchise_fullFranchise tags are designed to protect teams from losing their best players to free agency. The Dallas Cowboys decided to place a franchise tag on Dez Bryant.  This means that DeMarco Murray should hit free agency and have an option to leave Dallas.

Other players that were tagged today were Demaryius Thomas (WR, Broncos), Justin Houston (LB, Chiefs), Jason Pierre-Paul (DE, Giants), Stephen Gostkowski (Patriots), Charles Clay (TE, Dolphins).  Clay actually received a “transition tag” meaning the Dolphins get a chance to match any offer he receives from another team.

The Lions decided to not use their franchise tag on Ndamukong Suh. Other notable players that were not tagged were DeMarco Murray (RB, Cowboys), Julius Thomas (TE, Broncos), Randall Cobb (WR, Packers), Devin McCourty (Safety, Patriots), and Jeremy Maclin (WR, Eagles).

If you are wondering what a franchise tag is, here is an explanation (from NFL.com):

  • The exclusive franchise tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than 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 player’s team has all negotiating rights to the player.
  • The non-exclusive franchise tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than 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 player can negotiate with other teams. The player’s current team has the right to match any offer, or receive two first-round picks as compensation

Players typically do not like franchise tags because they would much rather have a secure, long-term deal in place.  While teams place franchise tags on players to protect themselves from losing the player, it doesn’t necessarily make their player happy.  Sure, they are guaranteed good money (an average of the top 5 players at their position) for one year, but if they were to have a bad season, they would make much less than they would have with that big long term contract in place.  Players often would make more than their franchise tag amount if they were left untagged and open to the free agent market.

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