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   Cost of Applying the Franchise Tag: 2024

May 22, 2024
Al Lackner
Before we start talking about projected numbers, lets review the NFL's definition of a Franchise Player and what is involved when a team whips out the tag.
Franchise Tag: Tee Higgins
First player to receive Franchise tag in 2024: Tee Higgins

Each Club can designate one of its players who would otherwise be an UFA or RFA as a Franchise Player each season. The team has the option of designating a Franchise player with one of two tags: Exclusive or Non-Exclusive.

A player designated with the Exclusive tag can only negotiate with his prior club (the one that tagged him). The tender associated with this version of the tag is a one year contract that is the minimum of the average of the five largest salaries (as calculated at the end of the free agency signing period) for players at the position at which he played the most games during the prior year, or 120% of his prior year salary, whichever is greater.

A player designated with the Non-Exclusive tag can negotiate a contract with another Club as if he were an UFA; however, Draft Choice Compensation of TWO first round draft selections (or some other mutually agreed upon compensation) shall be awarded to the prior club in the event that he signs with the new club. Prior to 2011 the tender for Non-Exclusive Franchise Player the tender was a one-year contract that was the minimum of the average of the five largest PRIOR-YEAR salaries for players at the position at which he played the most games in the prior year, or 120% of his prior year salary, whichever is greater. Starting in 2011 (with the latest CBA), the tenders were redefined in a more convoluted fashion. The calculation is as follows:
  • A = Total sum of the salary cap for the previous five prior years. In this case 2018-2022.
  • B = Sum of the franchise tags at each position over the same five-year period.
  • C = B (for each position) divided by A. This represents the relative cap percentage for the franchise tag by position.
  • For each position, the tender is the respective percentage for that position (as calculated for C above) multiplied by the salary cap for the given year.
Make sense?

The base salary cap for for each team is $224.8 M for 2023.

The base Franchise Tenders for Non-Exclusive Rights players by position will be:

Position Franchise Tag Transition Tag
QB $38,301,000 $34,367,000
LB $24,007,000 $19,971,000
DT $22,102,000 $18,491,000
WR $21,816,000 $19,766,000
DE $21,324,000 $19,076,000
OL $20,985,000 $19,040,000
CB $19,802,000 $17,215,000
S $17,123,000 $13,815,000
TE $12,693,000 $10,878,000
RB $11,951,000 $9,765,000
ST $5,984,000 $5,433,000

For RFAs, there are 3 different tenders that a team can place on a player. The team would receive compensation from another team signing the player based on the tender that the original team placed on the player. Those Tenders are (1) First round draft pick compensation, (2) Second round draft pick compensation and (3) Right of First Refusal. For RFAs, the tender amount is NOT based on position, so a qualifying offer for a RFA QB would be the same as that for a RFA Punter, for example.

Below are the 2024 RFA Tenders:
First Round: $6,822,000
Second Round: $4,890,000
Right of First Refusal: $2,985,000

We cannot estimate the Exclusive tag numbers with much accuracy, since the free agency period has not closed (or even begun as of this writing) for 2024. In case you are wondering, the CBA does have a provision stipulating that the Exclusive tag CANNOT be less than the Non-Exclusive tag for the respective position. Remember also that any player who is tagged for a second year in a row is guaranteed to cost 20% more than he did the previous year.

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