With the Vikings using the franchise tag on linebacker Chad Greenway, speculation has centered on the team applying a transition tag to receiver Sidney Rice.
The only problem? The Vikings can’t use it on Rice.
A league source recently explained to us that the extra transition tag under the rules of the uncapped year may be applied only to a player with six years of service. Rice has only four.
There’s still no guarantee an extra transition tag will be available under the next CBA, or under any rules that are unilaterally applied by the league due to decertification or a declaration or impasse.
In a capped year, teams may use only one franchise tag or one transition tag, but not both.
The transition tag has limited value, in any event. It provides only an opportunity to match an offer sheet that the player signs with a new team, but no compensation if the offer isn’t matched.
UPDATE: Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune makes a great point on Twitter. Rice may be a restricted free agent, given that he has only four years of service. Indeed, don’t be shocked if the Vikings apply a restricted free agency tender to any potential free agents with fewer than six years of service.