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NFL Franchise Tag Rules

By Alan Kirk

Designating a player as a franchise player allows an NFL team to hold onto his contractual rights for the upcoming season. The team can also use transitional franchise player tags on some players that gives them a chance to match any other team's offer for the player. These tags help teams retain their top players for a specified salary determined by the salaries of the top players at their positions.

Franchise Player

Each team in the NFL can label one player as their franchise player. This player must be offered a salary that is at least the average of the top five players in the league at his position. By doing this, the player cannot be signed by any other team and must sign with his current team or not play that season.

Consecutive Years As Franchise Player

A player can only be named a franchise player two years in a row. The second year must include at least a 10 percent increase over his previous salary or the average of the top five players at his position, whichever is higher. A player cannot be given a franchise player tag three years in a row.

Transition Player Tag

The transition player tag is a type of franchise player tag that is less restrictive on the player's ability to play for another team. The player must be offered a salary that is the average of the top 10 players at his position. If another team offers a contract to the player, his current team has the option to match the offer.

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Length of Offers

The contract offer for a franchise player tag offer is only for one year. Teams can then continue to negotiate with the agent of the player for a longer contract during the year. Transition players get one-year offers, but matching another team's offer can include multiple-year contracts.

Time Frame For Designation

According to Askthecommish.com, each team can designate their franchise tag and transition tag players during a two-week period that ends one week before the NFL's free-agency signing period begins. Players cannot be given these designations after that two-week period.

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