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

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

The Kansas City Chiefs didn't use their franchise tag last year, but if they plan on using it this year, it'd happen within the next couple of weeks.

The two-week franchise tag window opened on Tuesday, February 20, and will last for two weeks, ending on Tuesday, March 6 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.

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.

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 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.

The non-exclusive tag means that player is free to negotiate with other NFL teams through the tag deadline, which is prior to the start of training camp each year. 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.

Again, the window for teams to designate their exclusive, non-exclusive or transition tag player for the 2016 season begins on Tuesday, February 20 and runs through Tuesday, March 6 (3:00 p.m. CST).

Here's a look at how the Chiefs have used the franchise tag in the past:

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