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What is the franchise tag in the NFL?

The window is open for teams to use tags to hang onto their priority free agents.

The NFL offseason is upon us, which means teams are starting to make moves to form their respective rosters for the 2023 season. With free agency looming, teams can begin franchise or transition tagging their players on February 21, and the window to do so closes on March 7. An NFL team can only tag one player per season, and they do not have to use it.

What is the exclusive franchise tag?

The franchise tag is used to try and retain an impending free agent by giving them a one year-deal that is typically the average of the top five yearly salaries at that position. It can also be 120% of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater.

The exclusive franchise tag means that tagged players cannot negotiate with other teams. Their only options are to sign the franchise tag and play it out or sit out the season and avoid it, as Le’Veon Bell of the Pittsburgh Steelers did in 2018.

What is the non-exclusive franchise tag?

The non-exclusive franchise tag is similar to the exclusive one in that the same terms for salary options apply. The difference is that non-exclusive players can negotiate with other teams for a better deal. If they reach a deal with another organization, their original team can match the offer. If they don’t want to match the offer, the player can sign with their new team. In that case, the original team will be awarded two first-round draft picks as compensation.

What is the transition tag?

The transition tag pays less than the franchise tag using either 120% of the previous year’s salary or an average of the top 10 yearly salaries at that position, whichever is greater. The player can negotiate with other teams, but if they strike a deal, the original team can match it. The difference with the non-exclusive tag is that for the transition tag, if a player signs with a new team, the original isn’t granted any compensation; they simply lose the player.

How much does it cost to tag a player?

Franchise Tag (F)/Transition Tag (T) 2023 Salaries

QB — $32,416,000 (F)/ $29,504,000 (T)
RB — $10,091,000 (F)/ $8,429,000 (T)
WR — $19,743,000 (F)/ $17,991,000 (T)
TE — $11,345,000 (F)/ $9,716,000 (T)
OL — $18,244,000 (F)/ $16,660,000 (T)
DE — $19,727,000 (F)/ $17,452,000 (T)
DT — $18,937,000 (F)/ $16,068,000 (T)
LB — $20,926,000 (F)/ $17,478,000 (T)
CB — $18,140,000 (F)/ $15,791,000 (T)
S — $14,460,000 (F)/ $11,867,000 (T)
Special Teams — $5,393,000 (F)/ $4,869,000 (T)