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Tight end or receiver? Franchise tender is a $4.5 million difference

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans Getty Images

We noted this week that if Jared Cook gets the franchise tag from the Titans, a dispute between the team and the player could be coming about whether he’s a tight end or a wide receiver. Now that we know the exact value of the franchise tender for each position, we see how potentially significant that dispute could be.

Albert Breer of NFL Network has posted the full list of franchise tender amounts, showing that for a wide receiver who gets the franchise tag, his tender is a one-year guaranteed salary of $10.54 million. But for a tight end who gets the franchise tag, the tender is $6.07 million. In many NFL offenses, the difference between a wide receiver and a tight end is a distinction on the roster that doesn’t make a lot of difference in what the player does on the field. But it can be a huge difference in pay — a $4.5 million difference for a player who plays one season on the franchise tender.

Disputes about what position a player actually plays have cropped up before. Jermichael Finley and the Packers didn’t agree on what position Finley technically played, but they agreed on a two-year contract, making that dispute moot. In 2008, Terrell Suggs argued that he was a defensive end while the Ravens argued that he was a linebacker. Eventually the two sides agreed — with the league office and the players’ union going along — to split the difference between the two franchise tender amounts.

But at some point, an arbitrator might have to set a definitive standard about what distinguishes a tight end from a wide receiver, or a defensive end from an outside linebacker. It can be an expensive distinction.

Via Breer, here are the full franchise tender amounts:

Quarterback: $14.9 million

Defensive end: $11.18 million

Cornerback: $10.85 million

Wide receiver: $10.54 million

Offensive lineman: $9.83 million

Linebacker: $9.62 million

Defensive tackle: $8.45 million

Running back: $8.22 million

Safety: $6.9 million

Tight end: $6.07 million

Kicker/Punter: $2.98 million

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18 Responses to “Tight end or receiver? Franchise tender is a $4.5 million difference”
  1. logicalvoicesays says: Mar 1, 2013 10:50 AM

    Kickers/Punters do not deserve to be millionaires. It’s a worthless position.

  2. xmiksticky says: Mar 1, 2013 10:52 AM

    When was the last time you saw a slot receiver move into the tight end position and block someone? That’s right never if you play over 15% of your snaps at TE that’s what you are because a slot receiver would never do that.

  3. steeelfann says: Mar 1, 2013 10:58 AM

    Easy: What are they listed as on team roster?
    Stop the BS express immediately.

    They know they are tight ends. Quit lying.

    Question: Does a Tight End ever line up wide?

    Case over, go home.

  4. bigboysmash says: Mar 1, 2013 11:04 AM

    One year fully guaranteed at any position is allot of money.

  5. iamapatsfan says: Mar 1, 2013 11:08 AM

    Have cornerbacks often been more than WRs, or are CBs, even average ones, just becoming more valuable due to the increased passing attacks? If the second one, does that mean we will start seeing more people choose to be a CB over a WR in future years?

  6. brianc34 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:21 AM

    I’ve never seen a WR line up in a 3 point stance next to a tackle and not motion before the snap. If you do, you are a tight end.

  7. bcb1999 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:28 AM

    Why do the DEs and DTs get separate listings, but all OLs are lumped together? Tackles get paid way more than guards and centers…

  8. philsphan34 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:28 AM

    I would think a pro-rata split between the two positions based on percentage of snaps at each makes sense.

    Since teams are looking for versatile players that can play multiple schemes and/or positions such as OG/OT, DE/DT, LB/DE, WE/TE, this seems like a logical fix

  9. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Mar 1, 2013 11:29 AM

    Gets even more complicated when you are a Patriot and could play 10 different positions.

    Interesting that they make the distinction between TEs and WRs but all Offensive Linemen are created equal, making it expensive to tender a guard.

  10. mwt5584 says: Mar 1, 2013 11:36 AM

    You can’t simply go by what the player is listed on the roster. Cook is listed as a TE, but spends most of his plays in the slot.

  11. petersjeffrey36 says: Mar 1, 2013 12:01 PM

    while I can appreciate what these guys do , reality a tight end that can go slot and catch does not have the same skill set as a WR.

    the moment Finley (or any TE) can line up as a #1 WR and compete as a top 5 receiver fine, pay them but reality is they are TEs.

    Come on people its just like all these really successful slot receivers (i.e. Jennings/ welker) they cant do what a Moss in his prime or a Johnson/fitz can do. they need other people to open up the field.

  12. blacknole08 says: Mar 1, 2013 12:09 PM

    If the Titans franchise him they would be paying him top 5 TE money, which he is not.

    It’s laughable that they would even consider giving him 10 million a year.

  13. joetoronto says: Mar 1, 2013 12:09 PM

    They’re all overpaid, every last one of them.

  14. nflfan4now says: Mar 1, 2013 12:19 PM

    The other crock is that they don’t separate guards and tackles. A guard is worth a lot less then an OT, but the franchise amount is the same.

  15. keylimelight says: Mar 1, 2013 12:21 PM

    For the purpose of Franchise Tagging, looks like they need to develop a sliding scale between these two positions so that a TE or WR is graded according to number of receptions, tackles, etc. and paid along those lines.

    Because 4 million dollars is too much difference given how TE’s are being used nowadays.

  16. blackqbwhiterb says: Mar 1, 2013 12:23 PM

    Its an interesting situation, and college kids are watching, insisting on playing wr, not te, also trying to play corner, not safety…. As time goes on the lower paid positions will develop shortages of players, maybe

  17. mack2x says: Mar 1, 2013 1:40 PM

    If he was drafted as a tight end then he’s a tight end. Shouldn’t matter how they use him. Start leaving him in to block and draft a hungry slot receiver in the later rounds. He’s not worth the money he’s asking for.

  18. gator2006 says: Mar 1, 2013 6:31 PM

    Why did the union agree to allow a franchise tag? Sucks if you are the guy who loses out on long-term security and gets injured when you could have had a lot more guaranteed over a long contract.

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