What is the NFL Franchise Tag & how soon can teams use it?

: C.J. Gardner-Johnson #23 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)
: C.J. Gardner-Johnson #23 of the Philadelphia Eagles (Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images) /

Free agency approaches, and 32 NFL teams may be looking to place the franchise tag on someone.

The 2022-2023 season is now in the rearview mirror for the Philadelphia Eagles. For the NFC Champions next year’s march has already begun. Soon we’ll be discussing the process of building next year’s roster and various parts of the process like whether or not they should exercise their right to use the franchise tag on someone seeing as how they have so many players to make decisions about.

Teams use the franchise tag as an essential tool to be able to keep their best players while allowing them, in most cases, to continue contract negotiations.

So what exactly does the tag do for the teams? Well, we have the answers coming right up.

Looking at the three types of the NFL’s franchise tags.

The league’s franchise tag is a one-year deal. All 32 organizations have the option of tagging one player per year during free agency. They can do so both exclusively and non-exclusively.

Exclusive tags allow the selected player either the average of the top-five salaries at their position or 120% of the player’s previous salary, whichever amount winds up being more. The player, who is tagged cannot negotiate with any other team with this designation.

Non-exclusive tags are mostly handled in the same manner with the exception being the player tagged is allowed the right to negotiate with other teams. If they find an offer they like, their current team can match it, but the current team has another option. They can let the player leave while recouping two first-round draft picks from the other party.

There is also a transition tag, one where players who get designated earn an average of the top ten salaries at the position. Also, if a team does not match a competing team’s offer for a tagged player, they are not compensated with a draft pick like the earlier options.

When does the NFL franchise tag window open in 2023?

Teams in the league can start tagging one of their unrestricted free agents on February 21st. The door on the tool will close on March 7th. The point of the tag is for the organization and the player to have more time to get a multi-year deal that works for both sides.

Any unrestricted free agent that does not get tagged will be able to enter free agency. That will officially begin on March 15th.

Here are some of the notable NFL players who could get tagged by their teams this off-season.

One of the most exciting quarterbacks to watch in the league is someone who might also earn the franchise tag, Baltimore Ravens signal-caller Lamar Jackson. It is rumored Baltimore may tag him with an exclusive option, so he cannot negotiate with other teams.

Other notable names that could get franchise tagged are Dallas Cowboys running back Tony Pollard, Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Orlando Brown, New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley, Buffalo Bills linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, and Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.

Could the Eagles hit one of their unrestricted free agents with a franchise tag?

Philadelphia will have a few unrestricted free agents hit the market this offseason. Safety Marcus Epps, defensive back James Bradberry, linebacker T.J. Edwards, safety Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, running back Miles Sanders, defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, linebacker Kyzir White, and offensive lineman Isaac Seumalo are among the notable mentions.

If the Birds decide to tag someone, C.J. Gardner-Johnson or Hargrave appear to be interesting players to watch because of their youth and production on defense this past season. Then again, the Eagles could save themselves a ton of cap space simply by extending the latter.

Philadelphia doesn’t use the franchise tag often. They’ve only done so five times in their history. The last time they did so was in 2012 (DeSean Jackson). Jeremiah Trotter (2002), Corey Simon (2005), L.J. Smith (2008), and Michael Vick (2011) were the other four payers to be given that distinction.

Tagging season starts in about a week, which means NFL teams have a lot of tough decisions on their hand between now and then. Keep your eyes peeled. There is always some sort of circus to watch when it happens. Hopefully, the show won’t find its way to the City of Brotherly Love. Hopefully, the Eagles’ next offseason mirrors the most recent.