Monday will mark the beginning of the NFL’s franchise tag period in which NFL teams can apply their franchise tags on designated players who are impending free agents. Teams have until March 3 to designate their franchise players.
Under the new collective bargaining agreement, teams now have the possibility to mark a player with a “nonexclusive franchise tender” or the “exclusive franchise tender”.
If a player is hit with the “nonexclusive franchise tender” then he receives a fully-guaranteed one-year contract for the average of the previous five years of franchise tenders for that position but then adjusted to account for the league’s change in salary cap. The player then has the ability to negotiate with other teams, but the team he signs with would have to surrender two first-round draft picks.
The “exclusive franchise tender” uses the same formula as the nonexclusive tender but also takes the average of the top five salaries at the position and whichever formula produces the higher salary, the player gets that fully-guaranteed, one-year salary. As the name suggests, the player may not negotiate with other teams while under the exclusive franchise tender.
The other option for either tender is if 120-percent of the players’ previous year’s salary then he receives that amount as his salary instead under either the exclusive or nonexclusive tender.
A third option is tagging a player with a “transition tag” which will give their player the average of the top 10 salaries and then the Raiders will have the ability to match any offer that another team may present to them. Should he sign with another team, they would not receive any draft pick compensation as they would with the nonexclusive franchise tag.
The Raiders chose to not utilize these options last year and it is unknown if Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders front office will turn to the franchise tags this year.The Raiders undoubtedly want to retain starting left tackle Jared Veldheer but he has not yet come to an agreement with the team with free agency set to begin on March 11. Another possible candidate to receive the franchise tag is pending free agent defensive end Lamarr Houston.
Houston had a rough 2013 season getting to the passer while finishing with just six sacks on the season but remains one of the Raiders best defensive players on a team with many holes. Furthermore, the expected franchise-tag amount for a defensive end is $12.6 million, according to NFL Network’s Albert Breer.
According to Breer, franchising Veldheer would cost the Raiders approximately $11.2 million and they would be getting a player who has produced more over the past couple of years despite being injured for 11 games last season.
Veldheer’s position and lower cap hit makes him a more likely possibility to receive the Raiders franchise tag this offseason, though I’m sure both the team and the players would like to agree on a long-term contract instead.