NFL Franchise Tagged Players

The deadline has come and gone for NFL teams to retain a potential free agent on their team by placing the Franchise Tag on them. The Baltimore Ravens did not wait until the last minute like other teams and put it on RB Ray Rice, who will now make $7.7 million in 2012. Of course, now the team can continue to negotiate with Rice in order to reach a deal on a multi-year contract that will ultimately be more cap-friendly.

Other teams around the league also slapped the tag on key players on their team, thereby preventing them from test free agency on the open market. Key players franchised by their teams include Chicago Bears RB Matt Forte, New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees, New England Patriots WR Wes Welker and Philadelphia Eagles WR DeSean Jackson.

Although the Ravens have not made any mention of changing their placekicker, Billy Cundiff, after the critical and devastating miss in the AFC Championship Game, it might be tough to find a good one in free agency as there were a total of five kickers who were tagged by their teams.

(See the press release from the NFL with the full list of players who received the Franchise Tags from their respective teams after the 'Jump')

FRANCHISE PLAYERS NAMED

Franchise player designations were announced today for the 2012 NFL free agency signing period, which begins at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 13.

A club can designate one "franchise" player or one "transition" player among its veteran free agents.

The salary offer by a player’s club determines whether the franchise player designation is exclusive or non-exclusive.

An "exclusive" franchise player – not free to sign with another club – is offered the greater of (i) the average of the top five salaries at the player's position for the current year as of the end of the Restricted Free Agent Signing Period on April 20; or (ii) the amount of the Required Tender for a non-exclusive franchise player, as explained below.

The methodology for calculating the Required Tender for a non-exclusive franchise player has changed. Formerly, such players were tendered a one year NFL Player Contract for the average of the five largest Prior Year Salaries for players at the position at which the Franchise Player played the most games during the prior League Year, or 120% of his Prior Year Salary, whichever is greater.

Article 10, Section 2(a)(i) of the CBA sets forth the new methodology, known as the "Cap Percentage Average," for calculating the Required Tender for such a player:

The Nonexclusive Franchise Tender shall be a one year NFL Player Contract for (A) the average of the five largest Prior Year Salaries for players at the position . . . at which the Franchise Player participated in the most plays [formerly, "games"] during the prior League Year, which average shall be calculated by: (1) summing the amounts of the Franchise Tags for players at that position for the five preceding League Years; (2) dividing the resulting amount by the sum of the Salary Caps for the five preceding League Years . . . ; and (3) multiplying the resulting percentage by the Salary Cap for the upcoming League Year . . . (the "Cap Percentage Average") . . . ; or (B) 120% of his Prior Year Salary, whichever is greater . . . .

If a club extends a Required Tender to a non-exclusive franchise player pursuant to this section, the player shall be permitted to negotiate a player contract with any club, except that draft choice compensation of two first round draft selections shall be made in the event he signs with a new club.

The signing period for franchise players begins at 4:00 p.m. (ET) on March 13 and ends on the Tuesday following the 10th week of the season (November 13).

There are no transition player designations this year.

2012 FRANCHISE PLAYERS

Club

Player

Position

Arizona

Campbell, Calais

DE

Atlanta

Grimes, Brent

CB

Baltimore

Rice, Ray

RB

Chicago

Forté, Matt

RB

Cincinnati

Nugent, Mike

K

Cleveland

Dawson, Phil

K

Dallas

Spencer, Anthony

LB

Denver

Prater, Matt

K

Detroit

Avril, Cliff

DE

Indianapolis

Mathis, Robert

DE

Jacksonville

Scobee, Josh

K

Kansas City

Bowe, Dwayne

WR

New England

Welker, Wes

WR

New Orleans

Brees, Drew**

QB

New York Giants

Weatherford, Steve

P

Oakland

Branch, Tyvon

S

Philadelphia

Jackson, DeSean

WR

San Francisco

Goldson, Dashon

S

Tampa Bay

Barth, Connor

K

Tennessee

Griffin, Michael

S

Washington

Davis, Fred

TE

**Signifies "exclusive" franchise player

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