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NFL's Franchise Tag Window Opens on Tuesday: What You Need to Know

Posted Feb 15, 2016

The two-week window to use the franchise tag begins on Tuesday

Last year, the Kansas City Chiefs used the franchise tag on linebacker Justin Houston. They were then able to reach a long-term contract extension with him prior to the start of training camp in mid-July.

This year, the franchise tag window opens up on Tuesday, February 16, and lasts for two weeks, ending on Tuesday, March 1 at 3:00 p.m. CT. That’s the last day teams can place any one of the three franchise tag designations on any one player.

Year

Player

Position

Result

2015

Justin Houston

LB

Signed long term extension before the season 

2013

Branden Albert

OT

Played 2013 season on franchise tag 

2012

Dwayne Bowe

WR

 Signed long term extension before 2013 season

2011

Tamba Hali

LB

 Signed long term deal before 2011 season

2008

Jared Allen

DE

 Traded to Vikings before 2008 NFL Draft

2002

Tony Gonzalez

TE

Signed long term deal during 2002 season 

2000

Will Shields

OG

 Played 2000 season under tag, signed long term deal in 2001

1998

Dan Williams

DE

 Sat out entire 1998 season, signed extension in 1999

1993

Neil Smith

DE

Signed new deal after preseason 

Only one player per team per season can receive a franchise designation.

Those designations are broken down into three separate types: exclusive, non-exclusive and transition.

Once signed, the exclusive tag means the player will receive an average of the top five salaries at the player’s current position or 120 percent of the player’s current salary—whichever is higher.

That player cannot negotiate with other teams under this exclusive designation.

For all three of these designations, the salary is guaranteed once the player has signed his tender and can only be voided if the player fails to establish or maintain excellent physical condition, per the Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The non-exclusive tag means that player is free to negotiate with other NFL teams through the tag deadline of July 15. If the player receives an offer from another team, the team who placed the non-exclusive tag on him has the right to match that other offer. If they decline to do so, the new team can sign the player but will have to forfeit two first-round picks to the original team as compensation.

If the player doesn’t receive any other offers under the non-exclusive tag, once they sign the tender, they receive an average of the past five years’ top five salaries at that position, but that also takes into account the new salary cap for that year among other factors.

The non-exclusive tag is used more often because of the two first-round picks as compensation combined with the salary being lower than the exclusive tag.

The transition tag works in a similar way as the non-exclusive tag. The player is free to negotiate with other teams, but once an offer is made, if the original team decides not to match the offer, they are awarded no compensation in terms of draft picks.

The reason a team would even consider using the transition tag is that it comes with the lowest one-year salary of the three options and averages out the top 10 salaries at that specific position rather than top five.

But the lack of compensation awarded combined with the differences in salaries between non-exclusive and transition tags not being that substantial makes it the least often used of the tags.

For the Kansas City Chiefs, the chart below lists all of the free agents who could be candidates for any of these tags this offseason.

Again, the window for teams to designate their exclusive, non-exclusive or transition tag player for the 2016 season begins on Tuesday, February 16 and runs through Tuesday, March 1 (3:00 p.m. CST).

PLAYER

TYPE

POSITION

2015 SEASON (STATSPASS.COM)

Eric Berry

UFA

S

16 games, 15 starts, 61 tackles,
2 INTS, 10 passes defensed

Derrick Johnson

UFA

ILB

16 games, 16 starts, 116 tackles,
2 INTs, 4 sacks, 2 FFs, 8 TFL

Sean Smith

UFA

CB

13 games, 13 starts, 45 tackles,
2 INTs, 12 passes defensed

Chase Daniel

UFA

QB

2 games, 2-2 for 4 yards

Tyvon Branch

UFA

S

16 games played, 40 tackles,
1 INT-TD, 1 FR

Mike DeVito

UFA

DE

13 games played, 19 tackles, 3 sacks

Jeff Allen

UFA

OL

12 games, 8 starts,
2 penalties on 429 snaps, 0 sacks allowed

Husain Abdullah

UFA

S

11 games, 4 starts, 27 tackles

Jason Avant

UFA

WR

16 games, 15 receptions for 119 yards

Frank Zombo

UFA

OLB

16 games, 2 starts, 10 tackles,
3 sacks, 5 QBH

Donald Stephenson

UFA

OL

16 games, 7 starts, 4 penalties,
2 sacks allowed

Jaye Howard

UFA

DT

16 games, 13 starts, 57 tackles,
5.5 sacks, 9 QBH, 11 TFL

Jamell Fleming

UFA

CB

16 games, 13 tackles,
5 passes defensed, 1 FR

Dezman Moses

UFA

OLB

13 games, 1 tackle, 
1 QBH, 1 FF

Charcandrick West

ERFA

RB

15 games, 9 starts,
160 carries for 634 yards & 4 TDs

Daniel Sorensen

ERFA

S

16 games, 16 tackles, 1 sack,
2 passes defensed and 2 QBH

Nick Williams

ERFA

DT

14 games, 9 tackles

David King

ERFA

DE

1 game

^ TOP ^


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