NFL Franchise Tag Explained: What Does It Mean To Place Franchise Tag On Players?

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Despite the NFL Franchise Tag system being in the league since 2011, there seems to be a lot of queries in and around the system. We try to answer some.

Written By Sujay Chakraborty | Mumbai | Updated On:
nfl franchise tag

With teams now able to discuss contracts with their potential free agents, the NFL franchise tag system has once again been brought to the forefront. NFL sides afraid of losing their valuable assets but unsure of their long-term future are quick to put franchise tags on their players. Dallas Cowboys use the system effectively on Monday and announced that they have placed an exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott. 

Despite the NFL Franchise Tag system being in the league since 2011, fans still seem to ask 'What does it mean to place a franchise tag on a player?' or better yet 'What is franchise tag in NFL?' 

With several queries surrounding the 'tagging' system, let's see what does it mean to place a franchise tag on a player.

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NFL Franchise Tag explained: What is franchise tag in NFL?

As we mentioned above, the NFL franchise tag was introduced in the league in 2011. The Collective Bargain Agreement (CBA) signed that year included the NFL franchise tag in Article 10 of the agreement. While tagging a player in your team might sound convoluted, it in fact isn't.

In simple terms, the NFL franchise tag is essentially a one-year contract with a pre-determined salary for players. Placing a franchise tag on a player, who is about to become an unrestricted free agent, offers the NFL franchise with an extended negotiation period for a player. 

The pre-determined salary is set by the averaging the top five salaries by position for the previous league year. In case the average comes out to be higher, it will be 120% of a player's salary the previous season. 

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What is franchise tag in NFL? Types of NFL Franchise Tag

A team can place an exclusive, non-exclusive or a transitional franchise tag on a player. 

The exclusive franchise tag, as the name suggests, locks down a player for a year without him being able to negotiate a contract with any other team during the free agency period. The exclusive franchise tag guarantees the player a higher sum than the other tags.

The non-exclusive franchise tag allows the player to negotiate a contract with other interested parties in the NFL. If the player agrees to a contract with a different team, the original side will have the option to either match the offer or receive two first-round picks in compensation. 

The transitional franchise tag is basically a non-exclusive tag but the contract sum is determined from the average of the top 10 salaries at his position, rather than top five. If the player does agree to a contract with a different franchise, the original team gets no compensation if it does not wish to match the offer. 

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What does it mean to place a franchise tag on a player? Confirmed tags 

As we mentioned, Cowboys placed an exclusive franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott. Per the Cowboys' statement, Prescott received a tag worth around $33 million. Tagging Dak Prescott ensures that Cowboys will be the only team that can negotiate a long-term deal with him.

Meanwhile, last season's underdogs in the NFL playoffs, Tennessee Titans have placed a non-exclusive franchise tag on running back Derrick Henry. 

With 2020 NFL free agency commencing officially on Wednesday, a host of other franchises will be looking place franchise tags on the players. 

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