We’re more than a week past the Super Bowl and closing in on the end of February, which means that the start of the new league year and opening of free agency is drawing closer.
One of the milestones on the way to that point comes on Tuesday. It is the first day that teams are permitted to use the franchise tag on one of their impending free agents. The window remains open through March 8.
Any player who gets a non-exclusive tag and signs their tag will be guaranteed a salary representing the average of the top five players at his position over the last five years or 120 percent of his previous salary unless they are being tagged for a third time. That would result in a 144 percent bump in salary. Those players can negotiate with other teams, but their current teams can match the offer or they would get two first-round picks as compensation.
An exclusive franchise tag pays the average of the top five salaries for the current year and bars negotiation with other teams.
There is also a transition tag available. It pays the average of the top 10 salaries at the position and teams have the right to match other offers, but would not receive compensation if they chose not to match.
Packers wide receiver Davante Adams, Bengals safety Jessie Bates, Patriots cornerback J.C. Jackson, Cardinals edge rusher Chandler Jones, Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis, Chiefs tackle Orlando Brown, Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams, Titans edge rusher Harold Landry, and Dolphins tight end Mike Gesicki are among the candidates for tags this offseason.