Franchise numbers are expected to go up, a little

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With the salary cap increasing by only a little in 2013, it’s safe to say that the franchise tags will increase by only a little, too.

Per Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, the NFL distributed at the league meetings in December the tentative franchise tenders for 2013.

For quarterbacks, the 2012 tender will be $14.6 million.  It was $14.4 million in 2012.

For running backs, the 2012 tender will be $8.0 million.  It was $7.7 million in 2011.

For receivers, it will be $10.3 million, up from $9.6 million.

For tight ends, the number climbs from $5.4 million to $5.9 million.

For offensive linemen (yes, they’re all jumbled together regardless of whether they play center, guard, or tackle), the franchise tender climbs to $9.6 million from $9.4 million.

For defensive ends, the $10.6 million tender in 2012 becomes $10.9 million in 2013.

For defensive tackles, the franchise tender will be $8.3 million, up from $7.9 million the prior year.

For linebackers, the number moves to $9.4 million in 2013 from $8.8 million in 2012.

For cornerbacks, the tender remains roughly the same, at $10.6 million.

For safeties, the new number is $6.7 million; last year it was $6.2 million.

For kickers and punters, the franchise number of $2.5 million from 2012 increases to $2.9 million.

Last year, the first under the new CBA, the franchise numbers dropped dramatically, even though the cap went up slightly.  The reduction comes from a new formula that takes the value of franchise tags for the last five years, adds them up, divides them by the total value of the salary cap for the last five years, and multiplies the resulting percentage by the salary cap for the current year.  So the number is ultimately driven by a percentage of the cap, not by what the highest-paid players at each position make.  Eventually, the franchise tags will settle in as a fixed percentage of the salary cap, remaining the same each year and only rising based on how much the cap rises.

For some players, the tag becomes higher because the franchise tag rules guarantee the greater of the standard tag or 120 percent of the player’s cap number from the prior year.