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What is the franchise tag? Explaining the unique NFL tender as Jaylon Johnson decision looms

What is the franchise tag? Explaining the unique NFL tender as Jaylon Johnson decision looms originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

The Bears have until 3 p.m. on Tuesday to place the franchise tag on Jaylon Johnson this year, a move that’s widely expected in the event that GM Ryan Poles and Johnson’s camp can’t come together on a contract extension.

The tag was initially created to give teams extra time to negotiate with premium players, but nowadays it often becomes a de facto guaranteed one-year deal. There’s a lot that goes into the franchise tag, and if you don’t like digging in the weeds of NFL bylaws you might not know what it’s all about, and why players typically don’t like it. We’re here to help.

WHAT IS THE FRANCHISE TAG?

Technically, there are three types of tenders that teams can use as a tag, but one is used far more often than the others. Those tenders are:

-Non-exclusive franchise tag
-Exclusive franchise tag
-Transition tag

The non-exclusive franchise tag is the most common option, and is almost always what people are talking about when they say “franchise tag.” Under this tender, a player earns the average of the top-five salaries at his position over the last five years, or 120% of his previous salary, whichever is greater. A player who has been tagged with this tender is free to negotiate with other teams for a contract extension, and if he agrees to terms with another team, his current team has the opportunity to match. If they opt not to match, then the player’s new team must send the previous team two first-round draft picks as compensation.

Under the exclusive franchise tag, a player earns the average of the top-five salaries at his position for the current year, or 120% of his previous salary, whichever is greater. However, a player cannot negotiate with other teams.

Because of the cheaper salary and the major compensation if another team signs the player away, the non-exclusive franchise tag is the more popular option for teams.

Then there’s the transition tag, which pays a player the average of the top-10 salaries at his position. A player can negotiate for a new deal with other teams under this tender, and his current team still has the option to match any offer sheet. However, if the team decides to let the player leave for another deal, they receive no compensation in return. The Bears used the transition tag on Kyle Fuller in 2018, and Fuller eventually agreed to a four-year, $56 million deal with the Packers. The Bears didn’t let Fuller walk, however, and matched the Packers offer sheet.

HOW MUCH WOULD JAYLON JOHNSON EARN UNDER FRANCHISE TAG?

If the Bears slap the non-exclusive franchise tag on Johnson, he would be slated to earn $19.8 million, fully guaranteed.

HOW LONG DO TEAMS HAVE TO DECIDE ON FRANCHISE TAGS?

The first day that teams could tag their players was Feb. 20. The last day they can tag a player is Mar. 5.

HOW MANY PLAYERS CAN A TEAM FRANCHISE TAG?

NFL teams can only use one tag per year. They have to decide whether to use a franchise tag or a transition tag. They cannot use both.

WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A PLAYER IS FRANCHISE TAGGED?

If a team tags a player, they still have several months to try to work out a long-term deal. If not, then the player must either sign the tender, or hold out.

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