Starting today, all 32 NFL teams will have the ability to place the franchise tag on one player of their choosing. The deadline for applying said tag is Monday, April 5, eight days before free agency begins.
The underlying purpose of the franchise tag is for teams to have the option of retaining a player with an expiring contract if a long-term agreement can’t be had before free agency begins. Unlike previous seasons, in which a franchised player would receive the average salary of the five highest paid players at his position, the NFL’s new CBA introduces a complicated formula that now controls what the number for each position will be.
For 2012, the numbers figure out as such:
QB: $14.4 million in 2012; down from $16.1 million in 2011
RB: $7.7 million in 2012; down from $9.6 million in 2011
WR: $9.4 million in 2012; down from 11.4 million in 2011
TE: $5.4 million in 2012; down from $7.3 million in 2011
OL: $9.4 million in 2012; down from $10.1 million in 2011
DE: $10.6 million in 2012; down from $13 million in 2011
DT: $7.9 million in 2012; down from $12.5 million in 2011
LB: $8.8 million in 2012; down from $10.1 million in 2011
CB: $10.6 million in 2012; down from $13.5 million in 2011
S: $6.2 million in 2012; down from $8.8 million in 2011
Since Ted Thompson took over as GM in 2005, the Packers have used the franchise tag just twice.
DT Corey Williams received the tag in 2006 and then was traded to the Cleveland Browns for a second-round pick, and DL Ryan Pickett got the tag in 2010 but worked out a four-year, $25 million deal shortly thereafter.
In 2012, it’s widely assumed that the Packers will be using their tag on one of three players: quarterback Matt Flynn, tight end Jermichael Finley or center Scott Wells.
Let’s quickly run down each of those options: