Ladies and gentlemen, you can start your engines, but you will have a little time to warm up.
Today marks the opening of the franchise and the transition tag window, which means we are in the final stages as teams prepare for the new league year and the start of free agency on March 17.
The tag window runs from today, February 23, through March 9.
Teams can begin placing franchise or transition tag offers on players starting today and can still work out a long-term agreement with players until mid-July. If an extension is not resolved by then, the player will play the 2021 season under the one-year tender.
Clubs have three different options when deciding to tag a player: 1) Non-exclusive franchise tag; 2) Exclusive franchise label; 3) Transition label.
Non-exclusive franchise label: This is the most used tag. Colloquially, when most refer to the “franchise label”, they are generally referring to the non-exclusive version. This is a one-year offer of the average of the top five salaries in the player’s position for the past five years, or 120 percent of their previous salary, whichever is greater. The player can negotiate with other teams. The player’s current team is entitled to match any offer or receive two first-round picks as compensation if he signs with another organization.
Exclusive franchise label: A one-year public offering of the average of the top five salaries in the player’s position for the current year, or 120 percent of your previous salary, whichever is greater. The player cannot negotiate with another team. The increase in the pay scale (current average salary versus the average of the previous five years) means that only a few get this label. Typically, players for whom teams would be happy to yield two first-round picks receive this version of the tag; usually quarterbacks like Dak Prescott last season get the exclusive.
Transition label: The transition designation is a one-year public offer for the average of the top 10 salaries in the position, as opposed to the top five for the franchise tag. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player may receive from another club. The scoring team does not receive any compensation if they choose not to call a deal. The transition tag is generally a placeholder that gives the club the ability to match any contract the player negotiates with another team.
Each team can only use one franchise or transition tag each year. A rescinded bid counts as a tag – you’ll recall that the Carolina Panthers voided Josh Norman’s tag in 2016. A player can be tagged up to three times by his team, with an increase in pay each time, usually for the third tag, the percentage of the salary cap assumed at that time makes it prohibitive.
The franchise tag figures for each position are based on the salary cap for the 2021 season. Since the cap is not officially set, teams are currently working on estimates. We know that the salary cap will not be less than 180 million dollars.
While today marks the beginning of the franchise tag window, don’t expect a bunch of teams to use your option just yet. Clubs will continue to try to work on long-term extensions until the window closes on March 9. Labels are generally implemented after clear sides need more time to negotiate.
Of the candidates to get the tag, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the Dallas Cowboys are expected to wear a second consecutive tag in Prescott if no long-term deal is made. Also, the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers They are expected to tag catcher Chris Godwin: They used the tag on Shaquil Barrett last year. Rapoport also added that Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay is a strong candidate for tagging.
The window is open. The news flurry is likely not to fly until the March 9 deadline approaches.