Welcome to franchise tag day! Today is the day that all NFL teams can start applying the franchise or transition tag to a player. Keep in mind, it’s the day they can start issuing the tag. It’s not the final day they have to. They have until March 5 to issue this, so it’s not going to be a scramble all day today to get this tag out. Each NFL team is allowed one ‘tag’; be it franchise, exclusive rights, or transition. Once one of those three is used, they can’t use anything else. So one player can’t get an exclusive rights and another can’t get slapped with the transition tag—it doesn’t work that way.
The San Francisco 49ers are expected to use the franchise tag for the first time since 2012, issuing it to kicker Robbie Gould. This is the first time the 49ers will have used a franchise tag on a player since 2012 when they tagged Dashon Goldson.
As we said, there are three types of tags. The first is the non-exclusive-rights tag, which is what is most common. This tag 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 is higher. Under this tag, a player can negotiate with other teams and the team that applied the tag can match any offers. If the team franchising fails to match, they must receive two first round draft picks as compensation.
The exclusive rights tag has the same salary requirements as non-exclusive. Just one difference, the player cannot negotiate. The team that applies the tag owns the players rights and no matching can happen.
Finally, there’s the transition tag. This is a bit trickier. This tag allows the player the average of the top-10 salaries of players at his position and the ability to negotiate with other clubs. If an offer is made, the team applying the tag is allowed the right of first refusal, but no compensation if they do not match the offer.
The deadline for teams to designate all of this is March 5 at 1:00 P.M. PST. The player does not have to sign the tender by this date, but they have to be designated.
The 49ers are taking Robbie Gould off the market with either the non-exclusive or exclusive rights tag. There are 31 other NFL teams that have someone in mind for the tag. We talked about pass rushers, a market the 49ers may get involved in, a few days ago. Jadeveon Clowney (Houston Texans), DeMarcus Lawrence (Dallas Cowboys), Dee Ford (Kansas City Chiefs), and Frank Clark (Seattle Seahawks) are pass rushers expected to be franchised per Ian Rapoport.