John Schneider: How Seahawks approach the franchise tag

Mar 3, 2023, 9:14 AM
Seahawks John Schneider...
Seahawks GM John Schneider speaks to the media at the 2020 NFL Combine. (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

Seahawks general manager John Schneider is now in his 14th offseason with the franchise, but he’s used just one tool twice in his Seattle tenure.

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That would be the franchise tag, which the Seahawks used back in 2010 – Schneider’s first offseason in Seattle – on kicker Olindo Mare and in 2019 on defensive end Frank Clark a few months before he was traded to Kansas City for a first-round pick.

During his weekly show on Seattle Sports, Schneider discussed his thoughts on the Seahawks and the franchise tag.

First off, the exclusive franchise tag is a one-year contract valued at no less than the average of the five highest salaries at the position or 120% of the player’s salary the previous year, which ever is higher.

Additionally, if a player receives the franchise tag, that one-year deal is fully guaranteed.

Needless to say, using the tag costs a pretty penny, especially at some premium positions like quarterback.

“You have to have flexibility within the cap,” Schneider said. “You always have to do that if you want to try to continue to build your team all throughout the year. I’m talking all the way through the trade deadline or extending guys at the end of seasons and everything like that. So it can just be prohibitive.”

The Seahawks have a prime franchise tag candidate in quarterback Geno Smith, who was a Pro Bowler last season and is now a free agent after his breakout 2022 campaign.

Schneider didn’t mention Smith or using the tag on a quarterback, but he noted that the franchise tag is more manageable at certain positions.

“Obviously there’s different positions where it makes sense because the number is not quite as high,” he said. “Like, it was a big deal for us to get the deal done with (kicker) Jason Myers.”

Myers had a Pro Bowl season for the Seahawks in 2022 and was a pending free agent, but he signed a four-year deal worth up to $21 million ($5.5 million annually). This offseason, a franchise tag for a kicker was valued at $5.393 million, per OverTheCap. Compare that to $32.4 million for a quarterback or $20.9 for a linebacker.

“Kicker is a position you can stomach (the tag),” Schneider said. “But we didn’t want to do that, so we were able to work with his agency and get a deal done.”

While some have a negative connotation regarding a player receiving the franchise tag, Schneider doesn’t see it that way.

“I’ve never really looked at it as a negative thing when people say, ‘Oh, they got the franchise tag,’ because if you get the franchise tag, it’s a significant amount of money, especially at the premium positions,” he said.

Listen to this week’s John Schneider Show at this link or in the player below.

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