Beginning Tuesday, Feb. 20, NFL teams may begin to designate Franchise or Transition players.
As a quick primer, the franchise tag can only be used on a player who is set to become an unrestricted free agent at the start of the new league year (this year, that’s March 14). It is a one-year tender offer to a player for either the average of the top five salaries at his position, or 120 percent of the player’s salary the previous year, whichever is greater, according to NFL.com.
The Seahawks haven’t used the franchise tag on a player since 2010, on then-kicker Olindo Mare. This year though, there’s a real possibility Seattle could use the franchise tag on another player: defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson.
“I really do (think there’s a strong possibility that they could tag Richardson),” John Clayton told Bob, Groz and Tom on 710 ESPN Seattle. “My thinking on that is it’s gotta be a strong consideration. It would be ideal if you could get him to a contract, but the price on him is one of the hardest ones to determine because if you think he has a pass rush, he could probably get $16 million a year. If he’s just going to be more of a run-stopper in the defense, then it’s probably between $9 and $12 million a year. But a franchise tag would be $14 million. And why I think they have to consider that is that (they) don’t want to lose too many assets too early. And what I mean by that is you cut Michael Bennett, and you cut Cliff Avril, and you don’t have Kam Chancellor available, look what you’re losing on defense, and then of course Jeremy Lane’s out of there. So here’s a way to retain (a defensive starter).
“Now sure, you’ll get a third-round compensatory (NFL draft pick) if indeed you lose him and he goes to someplace else and gets over $12 million a year. That’s fine. But at the very least, if you franchise him you also have the ability, if you can’t get him done to a long-term deal, then you can try to work a trade and then maybe get that second-round pick back sometime before the draft. But overall, I think that they really do need to try to find a way to keep him. He was good in the locker room, he was good on the team, and I think he’s a very good player, and he’s young enough.”