As the end of the franchise tag period gets nearer (March 3rd), teams have to judge the progress of their contract negotiations with their biggest free agents and decide whether a realistic deal can be finished before free agency starts.
The franchise tag is an exclusive option that NFL teams have to put one of their unrestricted free agents under a one year contract with a set salary. It is most commonly used to put a team’s biggest free agent under contract if the team and the player are not close to closing in on a contract deal. If a team chooses to tag a player, that player has no choice but to play for the team in the following season.
Teams are not forced to use the franchise tag each year, and they only have the option to tag one player. The tag salary is determined by the average of the top five highest salaries at each position.
TE Jimmy Graham of the Saints, DE Greg Hardy of the Panthers, and K Nick Folk have all been tagged on Friday, February 28.
Saints slapped @TheJimmyGraham w NON-exclusive tag, creating more drama. Any team can sign Graham for 2 1st picks or Saints can match
— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) March 1, 2014
Here are the official salaries for the 2014 franchise tag for each position:
- Quarterback: $16.912 million
- Running back: $9.54 million
- Wide Receiver: $12.312 million
- Tight End: $7.035 million
- Offensive line: $11.654 million
- Defensive End: $13.116 million
- Defensive Tackle: $9.654 million
- Linebacker: $11.455 million
- Cornerback: $11.834 million
- Safety: $8.433 million
- Kicker/Punter: $3.556 million