Franchise tag

Every year each National Football League team is allowed to designate a player who is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent as a franchise player. This designation is applied to a player through the use of the franchise tag. Each team has access each year to only one franchise tag (of either the exclusive or non-exclusive forms) or one transition tag. As a result, each team may only designate one player each year as that team's franchise player.

Usually designated for players of great skill or of high importance to the team, a franchise tag allows a team's 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.

If the designated franchise player elects to play for the team that designated him with the franchise tag, and does not negotiate a contract with another team his one year salary is guaranteed.

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

Types of franchise tags

There are two types of franchise tag designations: the exclusive rights franchise tag, and non-exclusive rights franchise tag:

*An "exclusive" franchise player must be offered a one-year contract for an amount equal to or greater than the average of the top five salaries at the player's position as of a date in April of the "current" year in which the tag will apply, or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, whichever is greater. Exclusive franchise players cannot negotiate with other teams. [#REDIRECT ttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt] *A "non-exclusive" franchise player must be offered a one-year contract for an amount equal to or greater than the average of the top five salaries at the player's position in the "previous" year, or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, whichever is greater. A non-exclusive franchise player may negotiate with other NFL teams, but if he signs an offer sheet from another team, the original team has a right to match the terms of that offer, or if it does not match the offer and thus loses the player, to receive two first-round draft picks as compensation.

It is the team's choice whether it uses an exclusive or a non-exclusive franchise tag. While it may seem that a team would always choose the exclusive option, there are two reasons a team might prefer the non-exclusive option instead. The first is that the salary is based on the top 5 salaries of the "previous" year instead of the current year, which could be a significant difference. The second reason is that a team may want the opportunity for the two first-round draft picks they would receive if they lost their player.

2008 franchise-tagged players

* Arizona Cardinals - Karlos Dansby LB (Non-exclusive) [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3246970]
*Baltimore Ravens - Terrell Suggs LB (Non-exclusive) [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3252676]
*Carolina Panthers - Jordan Gross OL (Non-exclusive) [http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d806c2840]
*Cincinnati Bengals - Stacy Andrews OL (Non-exclusive) [http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nfl&id=3252135]
*Dallas Cowboys - Ken Hamlin SS (Non-exclusive) [http://www.dallascowboys.com/news.cfm?id=3DBAF404-FDA9-3471-EAB18B9B89427C24]
*Green Bay Packers - Corey Williams DT (Non-exclusive) [http://www.packersnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080220/PKR01/80220184/1989]
*Indianapolis Colts - Dallas Clark TE (Non-exclusive) [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3253867]
*Kansas City Chiefs - Jared Allen DE (Non-exclusive) [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3252292]
*Oakland Raiders - Nnamdi Asomugha CB (Exclusive) [http://www.nfl.com/news/story?id=09000d5d806c6ef5&template=with-video&confirm=true]
*Philadelphia Eagles - L.J. Smith TE (Non-exclusive) [http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=3235983]
*Seattle Seahawks - Marcus Trufant CB (Non-exclusive) [http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nfl&id=3256161]
*Tennessee Titans - Albert Haynesworth DT (Non-exclusive) [http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/wire?section=nfl&id=3255326]

2008 exclusive franchise player costs by position

2007 franchise-tagged players ( Exclusive or non-exclusive)

*Chicago Bears - Lance Briggs LB (Non-exclusive)
*Cincinnati Bengals - Justin Smith DE (Non-exclusive)
*Detroit Lions - Cory Redding DT (Non-exclusive)
*Indianapolis Colts - Dwight Freeney DE (Exclusive)
*New England Patriots - Asante Samuel CB (Non-exclusive)
*New Orleans Saints - Charles Grant DE (Non-exclusive)
*Seattle Seahawks - Josh Brown PK (Non-exclusive)

2007 non-exclusive franchise player costs by position

2006 franchise-tagged players

*Detroit Lions - Jeff Backus T
*Buffalo Bills - Nate Clements CB
*Seattle Seahawks - Josh Brown K


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