Being franchised is a good-news/bad news situation for players.
And this year's franchise actions could get explosive as players
seek to maximize their franchise income based on their designated
The good news is they are guaranteed an excellent paycheck based on
a formula that includes the average income of the top five players
at their position over the last five years.
The bad news is they are realistically prevented from testing their
value in free agency because even if another team is willing to pay
a high salary, it must also compensate his current team with two
first round draft picks.
Teams can franchise only one player a year.
Three teams did so Friday, two officially, when New Orleans Saints
tight end Jimmy Graham, Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy
and New York Jets kicker Nick Folk were franchised.
The Saints didn't inform the league by Friday's 4 pm Eastern
deadline so Graham will be officially listed Monday.
After that, Graham will likely appeal if the NFL Management Council
rules he should be considered a tight end. The tender for tight ends
is $7.035 million, while it is $12.312 million for wide receivers
. Graham contends he should be considered a wide receiver because
the majority of his snaps came lined up in the slot.
The league will likely argue that the tight end position has evolved
into one where most pass-catching tight ends play in the slot, and
that true wide receivers never line up as a tight end.
The Baltimore Ravens avoided a similar situation with tight end
Dennis Pitta when he signed a five-year contract worth $32 million
The Buffalo Bills have reportedly decided not to franchise safety
Jairus Byrd for a second consecutive year, while the Washington
Redskins are deciding whether to tag linebacker Brian Orakpo. The
Cleveland Browns are unlikely to franchise center Alex Mack because
the league does not have separate tenders for tackles, guards and
centers, and the tender for all offensive linemen is $11.654
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Players given the one-year non-exclusive franchise tender can
negotiate with all other 31 teams. If they receive an offer, the
original team can match it or receive two first-round draft picks as
compensation. A player receiving the exclusive franchise tag is
prohibited from negotiating with any other teams.
The transition tag, which is lower, is also available for teams but
has rarely been used in recent seasons. Teams retain matching rights
for transition players, but there is no compensation if the player
Once tagged, it remains possible for the player and team to agree on
a long-term contract. However, if there is no agreement by July 15,
the player can only be paid the amount of the tender for that
Last season, eight players were franchised and only one, Denver
Broncos tackle Ryan Clady, eventually signed a long-term contract.
The other seven -- Byrd, Chicago Bears defensive tackle Henry
Melton, Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson, Dallas
Cowboys defensive end Anthony Spencer, Indianapolis Colts punter Pat
McAfee, Kansas City Chiefs tackle Branden Albert and Miami Dolphins
defensive tackle Randy Starks -- all played the 2013 season for the
tender and are expected to become unrestricted free agents on March
Following are the franchise and transition tags for each position,
with the first number the franchise tender:
Quarterbacks $16.912 million/$14.666 million; running backs $9.54
million/$8.033 million; wide receivers $12.312 million/$10.176
million; tight ends $7.035 million/$6.106 million; offensive linemen
$11.654 million/$10.039 million.
Defensive ends $13.116 million/$10.633 million; defensive tackles
$9.654 million/$8.060 million; linebackers $11.455 million/$9.754
million; cornerbacks $11.834 million/$10.081 million; safeties
$8.433 million/$7.253 million.
Kickers/punters $3.556 million/$3.205 million.
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