What Exactly Is The “Franchise Tag” In The NFL?

Posted by | February 16, 2014 .

Franchise Tag

With all the talk about the franchise tag involving Jimmy Graham in the upcoming 2014 season, some of you might be asking yourself “What Exactly Is The “Franchise Tag” In The NFL?”

In the National Football League, the franchise tag is a designation a team may apply to a player scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. The tag binds the player to the team for one year if certain conditions are met. Each team has access each year to only one franchise tag (of either the exclusive or non-exclusive forms) and one transition tag. As a result, each team may only designate one player each year as that team’s franchise player. It has been designed to reduce player movement (often to bigger markets) which is often evidenced in other major pro sports leagues.

Usually reserved for players of great skill or of high importance to the team, a franchise tag allows a team’s general manager the privilege of strategically retaining valuable free-agent players while seeking talent through the NFL draft or other acquisitions without exceeding the League’s salary cap. A team may also franchise tag a player with 2 or more years left on a contract.

The designated franchise player will have his one year salary guaranteed if he elects to play for the team that designated him with the franchise tag and if he does not negotiate a contract with another team.

If a club withdraws their offered contract the player immediately reverts to an unrestricted free agent.

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