Even though a new CBA could nullify any franchise tags given before it’s signing, NFL teams are still taking precautions to lock up their key players.
Under the previous CBA team’s were allowed to apply one franchise tag each year. The franchise tag gives the player a one year contract that is the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position or 123 percent of the players previous year’s salary, which ever is higher. This move enables team’s to retain their top players while they try to work out a long term contract.
Since there is currently no CBA, the rules are different. Under the rules for an uncapped year, teams are allowed to apply one franchise tag and one transition tag or two two transition tags.
What is a transition tag? Well, it is sort of like making the player a restricted free agent. If a player receives a transition tag, the team has the right to match any offer the player receives as a free agent. The difference from restricted free agency, however, is that if the team refuses to match the offer and the player leaves, the team does not receive any compensation in the form of draft picks. In exchange for receiving the transition tag, the team must give the player a one-year deal that averages the top ten salaries at the players position.
The dominoes began falling yesterday when the New England Patriots placed the franchise tag on guard Logan Mankins. This set off a chain reaction this morning. Adam Schefter has reported via Twitter that the Jets have placed the franchise tag on LB David Harris and that the Philadelphia Eagles have given QB Mike Vick the franchise tag while also applying the transition tag to kicker David Akers.
The attention of Chiefs Nation now turns to the team’s negotiations with star OLB Tamba Hali. The team reportedly began talks with Hali at the Senior Bowl and since we have learned that Hali is looking for money similar to what DeMarcus Ware got in Dallas. Ware signed a six-year, $78 million extension in 2009. The deal pays Ware 40 million in guaranteed money.
The Chiefs have until February 24th to tag Hali. It will be interesting to see if they follow suit today and tag him or if they wait until the very end of the franchise tag period. The more time that goes by without Hali being tagged would seem to indicate the team is really trying to get a deal done now. An early tag would suggest that the two sides are too far apart for anything to get done before the deadline.
The interesting point in all this is that none of this matters right now because unless a new CBA is signed, there will not be free agency. Still, the team’s have to protect their players because if a deal is signed it could grandfather in franchise and transition tags issued this month.
It is a very messy and complicated situation. In the end, none of the tags issued over the coming days could matter.
What do you think Addicts? Will the Chiefs tag Tamba Hali or will th etwo sides get a deal done? Do you think the team will apply the transition tag to any of their free agents to be? Remember, CB Brandon Carr will also be a free agent and is probably a player the Chiefs want to keep around.