NFL teams have until 1p.m. PT on Tuesday, March 5th to decide if they will use their franchise or transition tags on players. Teams have begun making decisions on their use of the tags, and we’ll be tracking all of them here. Not all will impact the San Francisco 49ers, but given the volume of edge rushers looking at the tag, plenty are going to be noteworthy.
The franchise and transition tags give the tagging team right of first refusal on contracts. If a non-exclusive franchise player departs for a new deal, his original team gets a pair of first round picks. An exclusive franchise player is not allowed to negotiate with other teams. If a transition player departs, there is no draft pick provided to the original team. A team can only use one of the two tags. A tagged player can negotiate a contract extension until July 15th, after which he has to play the season on the one-year contract tender.
There have been reports about several players likely to get the franchise tag, but the teams have yet to make it official. The list below is strictly for players where the team has announced the tag. We will continue updating as names come in.
San Francisco 49ers: Robbie Gould, K (Feb. 26)
Teams could start tagging a player on February 19th, but most will wait until at or near the March 5th deadline. The 49ers did not waste a lot of time in making their decision. They placed the tag on Gould on February 26th. They have said they want to get an extension done, but this prevents Gould from leaving in free agency since nobody will give up first round picks for a kicker.
Houston Texans: Jadeveon Clowney, LB (Mar. 4)
The Texans placed their non-exclusive franchise tag on the pass-rushing beast 24 hours before the deadline. The team acknowledged him as both a defensive end and outside linebacker in their announcement, but have tagged him as a linebacker. There will be an assessment as to which he is for purposes of the tag since there is a sizable difference between the franchise tender for a defensive end ($17,128,000) and a linebacker ($15,443,000). It is worth noting that Clowney’s tag price for now is actually $15,967,000 because it is whichever is higher of 110 percent of his 2018 salary or the basic LB tender price. The former is higher, thus the larger number.
Atlanta Falcons: Grady Jarrett, DT (Mar. 4)
The Falcons were hoping to get a deal done this offseason for the stout man in the middle of their defense. They will continue negotiating, but Jarrett at least is locked in for the coming season barring an unexpected outside offer.
Seattle Seahawks: Frank Clark, DE (Mar. 4)
Clark had a career high 13 sacks, and has 32 over the past three seasons combined. His agent has said that Clark is fine with the franchise tag because he does not want to short-change himself. He and his agent think he deserves top-tier pass rusher money, and is willing to play this out — seemingly even if it means playing back-to-back years on the tag.
Dallas Cowboys: DeMarcus Lawrence, DE (Mar. 4)
The decision to use a second straight tag on Lawrence is not surprising. However, both sides appear to be far apart on a contract. Unless an extension gets done, I don’t imagine we’ll see Lawrence until the end of training camp at the earliest.
Kansas City Chiefs: Dee Ford, LB (Mar. 4)
Ford appears to be plenty comfortable playing this season on the franchise tag. Where it gets interesting is the reports that Chiefs are open to trading Ford. They are switching to a 4-3 and are hinting that maybe Ford is not ideally suited for the defense. I would be surprised if they traded him given that they are looking to unload Justin Houston. Would they really unload their top two pass rushers? Two guys who combined for 22 sacks last season? Houston seems all but certain to be gone, but I just don’t see them trading Ford.