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NFL franchise tag window opens, 49ers probably won’t use it

Teams now have until March 6 to designate their franchise or transition players. The 49ers are not expected to use the tag.

Today, NFL teams are officially allowed to designate a franchise or transition player. In other words: they can apply the franchise tag to one of their pending free agents. It takes a few different forms, and this year, the San Francisco 49ers are not expected to use any tag.

Just a couple weeks ago, though, many were suggesting the 49ers were the most likely to use the tag. That’s because quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo wasn’t yet signed to the largest contract in the NFL. Now that he is, the 49ers have some high profile free agents — Eric Reid and Carlos Hyde — but are not expected to use the tag on either.

There are three types of tags. The first is the exclusive-rights tag, which pays a player either the average salary of the top five highest-paid players at his position or 120 percent of his salary from the previous year, whichever of the two numbers is higher. Under this tag, a player cannot negotiate with other teams.

The non-exclusive tag carries the same financial commitment from a team, but allows players to negotiate with other teams. The team that applies the tag can match any offer tendered to the player, and if they don’t, the player’s new team has to send two first-round picks as compensation.

Finally, the transition tag pays a player a salary that equals the average of the top 10 highest-pad players at his position, and allows him to negotiate with other franchises. The team can match any offer sheet, but if they decline, the new team does not have to send anything in compensation.

The deadline for team’s to use the tag is March 6 at 1 p.m. PT.

There are, of course, storylines that matter to the 49ers. Whether or not running back Le’Veon Bell or pass rusher DeMarcus Lawrence could be of particular interest to John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan.