Now that the deadline for designating a player with the franchise tag has passed, the last official order of business has come and gone for the official 2015 NFL season. Teams who came up empty looking to strike long-term deals with their prized free agents have the option to tag the player with the franchise tag.
There are three different versions of the franchise tag. The first is the exclusive franchise tag. When a team offers this tag to a player, the player can do one of two things. Either sign the one year deal offered, which is determined by the average of the top five salaries of players at the respective position, or 120% of the players previous years pay, whichever is greater, or work out a long term deal with the team. No other team is allowed to negotiate with a player who receives the exclusive tag. The non-exclusive franchise tag is the same except that other teams are allowed to negotiate with the tagged player. If another team offers the tagged player a contract, the original team can either match the offer and the tagged player sign with the original team or the original team can concede to the offer, and they receive two first round picks from the team who signs the tagged player. The third type of franchise tag, called the transitional tag, is a one year contract determined by pay of the top 10 at the position or 120% whichever is greater. Like the non-exclusive tag, players are free to negotiate with other teams and if another team offers him a contract, the original team can match it and retain the player. The difference is if the original team doesn’t match the offer, no compensation is given to the original team.
Ten players received tags prior to the 4 p.m. deadline today. Here is a look at those players and the tag they were designated with.
Exclusive Franchise Tag
Von Miller – OLB – Denver Broncos – The Super Bowl 50 MVP was the only player to receive the exclusive franchise tag. The Broncos are dedicated to working out a long term deal will Miller, but didn’t want the interference of outside teams to be a possibility. He will receive $14.1 million this season with the tag designation, but look for Miller to work out a long term deal with the Broncos.
Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag
Justin Tucker – K – Baltimore Ravens – Tucker has been consistent for the Ravens since they signed the undrafted free agent in 2012. He has made 87.8 percent of his field goals and has never missed an extra point. His agent and the Ravens have been talking contract since last season, but haven’t agreed to anything. He would receive $4.5 million next season.
Cordy Glenn – OT – Buffalo Bills – Through salary cap issues, the Bills decided to tag Glenn. Glenn is an outstanding young tackle, that the Bills did not want to see leave. With the issues the Bills have with the cap, a long term deal may not be in the cards, and a long term pay day will come after a healthy $13.7 million pay day this year.
Josh Norman – CB – Carolina Panthers – Arguably the most dominant defensive back in the league this year, Norman picked a contract year to reach his potential. A huge part of Carolina’s dominant defense, the tag will have him earning $13.95 million next season. The Panthers are making it a top priority to sign Norman to a long term contract; however they tried to work out a deal last season and talks stalled when the two sides didn’t come close to a deal. He said after that he would play out his rookie contract, and he would bet on himself to increase his value in 2015. Boy was he right.
Alshon Jeffery – WR – Chicago Bears – The Bears had to ensure Jeffery would be back. He is one of the best at his position, and look for the Bears to work out a long term deal with him before the July 15th deadline. If he does wind up playing on the tag designation, he will earn $14.6 million next season.
Eric Berry – S – Kansas City Chiefs – The NFL’s reigning comeback player of the year is an amazing story, beating cancer and returning to form. He is a dominating force in the defensive backfield and the Chiefs have been working on getting him a contract since their season ended. He would make $10.8 million next year is the Chiefs can’t find a way to wrap Berry up long term.
Trumaine Johnson – CB – St. Louis Rams – With Johnson and fellow cornerback Janoris Jenkins set to be free agents, the Rams decided to give the tag to Johnson. They will continue to talk contract with Jenkins, but will they be able to wrap up both corners? They at the least will have Jenkins back next year for a $13.95 million payday.
Muhammad Wilkerson – DE – New York Jets – The Jets were not in the best shape salary cap wise, but freed room to tag up and coming superstar Wilkerson to play for them for another year. The Jets have 20 internal free agents and won’t be able to keep them all, but wanted to maintain the dominance of the defensive line, and started that process by keeping Wilkerson around next season for $15.7 million.
Kirk Cousins – QB – Washington Redskins – All Cousins did last year was take the Redskins who were slated to be a contender for top pick in the draft, and make them division winners. Cousins really caught fire down the stretch, and the Redskins have been unable to work out a long term deal with him thus far. The tag number for Cousins will earn him $19.95 million next season, and it may make sense for the Redskins to let him play under the tag designation to make sure last year wasn’t a fluke.
Olivier Vernon – DE – Miami Dolphins – The sole recipient of this tag, the Dolphins can keep Vernon around for another year for around $12 million if no one else tries to lure him away. With plenty of teams looking for pass rushers (Bucs), the Dolphins might have to face the reality of matching an offer thrown his way or letting him settle into a new home
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