Wednesday marks the first day of the two-week window in which NFL clubs can designate their franchise player for the 2017 season.
Each team can use the franchise tag once in a season, though clubs aren’t required to use it; in 2016, only nine teams designated franchise players. The tag is a one-year, fully guaranteed contract, and the salary its determined through a complicated calculation representing the five-year average salary cap percentage each position consumed, or 120 percent of a player’s 2016 salary, whichever is higher.
So, for example, if Washington decides to franchise Kirk Cousins again rather than get him signed to a long-term deal, Cousins’ tag amount would be $23.943 million, which is 20 percent over the $19.953 million he received as a franchise player last year.
Another player who could see himself tagged for the second straight season is Eric Berry. The Kansas City Chiefs’ All-Pro safety has said definitively that he will not play under the tag again, but he does want to remain with the Chiefs. Berry made $10.8 million last year, meaning his salary for 2017 would be $12.96 million.
But some other big-name players could be franchised for the first time: Pittsburgh Steelers’ stellar running back Le’Veon Bell, whose suspensions and injuries have caused him to play just 18 games over the last two regular seasons, may be tagged, which would cost over $12 million.
Arizona Cardinals team president Michael Bidwill reiterated on Tuesday that pass rusher Chandler Jones, who had 11 sacks and 4 forced fumbles in 2016, will play this coming season on the tag unless Jones and the team come to a long-term deal. The Cardinals moved Jones to outside linebacker – he had played defensive end with the Patriots – and that switch will save the team roughly $2.5 million, the difference of the tag amounts for those positions.
Teams were told in December that the 2017 salary cap was estimated at $168.1 million per club, making these the estimates for the tag amounts, via Albert Breer of The MMQB:
Quarterback: $21.5 million
Defensive End: $17.0 million
Wide Receiver: $15.7 million
Linebacker: $14.6 million
Offensive Line: $14.4 million
Cornerback: $14.3 million
Defensive Tackle: $13.5 million
Running Back: $12.2 million
Safety: $11.0 million
Tight End: $9.8 million
Punter/Kicker: $4.8 million
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