Here’s your 2016 franchise tag primer:
What is the franchise tag? In theory the franchise tag is a method for NFL teams to prevent very important players in their franchise from leaving via free agency. In practice it’s a method for negotiating contracts by preventing certain players from actually hitting the market. Which is kind of the same thing.
Someone said “exclusive” so what are they talking about? Technically there are THREE types of franchise tags. The exclusive tag (you’re on lock down), the non-exclusive tag (another team can sign the player to an offer sheet and then give up two first-round picks if the player agrees and his original team doesn’t match) and the transition tag (same as non-exclusive but with no draft picks).
How long is it? A franchise tag lasts one year, although players can be tagged up to three straight years. The first number is set by position (see: below), the second is 120 percent of the previous tag and the third time you get “quarterback money.” Three’s the limit per the new CBA, however.
How does the money work? Once the tender is signed, the player in question gets a one-year, fully-guaranteed contract at a set price. Said price is determined by finding the average of the five largest salaries at that player’s position front the year before. (To figure out the quarterback franchise value, you average the top five quarterback salaries.)
Can they sign this guy to a contract? Yes! However, the team and the player only have until July 15 to work out a long-term deal, otherwise negotiations are legally off the table until the following offseason