The two-week window for applying the franchise tag opened one week ago. And with one week to go, seven players have been slapped with the device aimed at placing stiff restrictions on an otherwise unrestricted free agent.
A player restricted by the franchise tag receives the greater of the average of the five highest-paid players at the position in 2010, or 120 percent of the player’s 2009 compensation. His team receives a right to match an offer sheet that the player signs with another team, and the ability to collect two first-round picks if the offer isn’t matched.
Under the exclusive version of the tag, the player cannot sign with a new team, and he receives the greatest of the average of the five highest-paid players at his position in 2010, the five highest-paid players at his position at the end of the 2011 restricted free agency signing period, or 120 percent of his 2010 compensation.
The seven players receiving the franchise tag to date are: Patriots guard Logan Mankins, Eagles quarterback Mike Vick, Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, Jets linebacker David Harris, Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson, Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, and Chiefs linebacker Tamba Hali.
Manning’s $23 million tender arises from his 2010 compensation multiplied by 1.2. Since it was no more expensive to use the exclusive or the non-exclusive version of the tag on Manning, the Colts went with the version that prevents someone from realizing that two first round-picks would be a no-brainer investment for a crack at Manning.
Vick also has received the exclusive version of the tag, which means that his salary will likely increase if/when Manning signs his new contract and pushes his 2011 pay above $23 million.
The franchise tender becomes fully guaranteed when accepted by the player. The tag can be rescinded at any time before the player accepts it. If the tag is rescinded, the player becomes an unrestricted free agent.