As more and more teams refuse to use the franchise tag as the starting point on a long-term deal, more and more players are choosing to go year-to-year under the franchise tag.
For Ravens kicker Justin Tucker, that decision is a no-brainer.
With the Ravens reducing their offer (apparently because Tucker had the temerity not to gratefully accept their below-market generosity), Tucker will make $4.5 million this year and hit the open market in 2017. If the Ravens tag him again next year, he’ll make $5.4 million.
So unless they’re guaranteeing him $9.9 million at signing, why should Tucker sign a long-term deal?
For most players, going year-to-year under the tag means carrying the injury risk. For kickers, the injury risk is considerably smaller — making it easier for Tucker to take $4.5 million this year and either $5.4 million next year or the best offer he can get on the open market in 2017.
Teams love to take full advantage of the rules that favor them under the labor deal, calling it “just business.” When players do that, however, teams sometimes get indignant and hostile. With more than a few tagged players refusing to accept the long-term deals their teams are offering as the 2016 deadline approaches, the players are finally pushing back with the tools they have under the CBA.