Franchise Deadline Passes in the NFL

(Philadelphia, Pa) — Thursday February 19th was the last day that NFL teams could “franchise” their potential free agents for the 2009 NFL season.  The franchise tag allows for a team to limit a potential free agent’s movements under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A team can designate one franchise player in any given year as a “Franchise” player before the start of the Free Agency signing period (February 27th). The salary level offered by the designating team determines whether the player is an Exclusive or Non-Exclusive franchise player. This year there was an NFL-high 14 free agents that were designated as “franchise” players, which eclipsed the former high of eleven from 2005 and 2008.

Some teams use the tag as a way to initiate talks for a long-term contract, but usually “franchise” players and their agents are extremely unhappy and can cause distractions due to the loss of “upfront” signing bonus money (guaranteed $$$).  Though franchised players will be paid at the highest level of their position (average of the top-five salaries at their position), players typically want the big payday that comes with being a marquee free agent.  In the past, we have seen franchised players miss off season training activities (OTA’s) and report late or holdout of training camp (ex. Seattle Seahawks Offensive Tackle Walter Jones in 2004 & 2005). 

The player most likely to follow in the disgruntled “I am not reporting” pattern is Carolina Panther defensive end Julius Peppers.  The 2008 Pro Bowl player, who is coming off a career high of 14.5 sacks, wanted the opportunity to play elsewhere for Dwight Freeney type numbers (signed in 2007 for six years, $72 Million with a $30 Million dollar signing bonus).  But when the Panthers signed potential free agent tackle Jordan Gross to a long-term deal, Peppers lost his opportunity at leaving the only place he has played in collegiately and professionally.  Peppers went as far as saying he would only play for 4 teams (the Dallas Cowboys and three unnamed team), but he really has little leverage as Panthers will control his player rights for the next year.  The next date for franchised players to watch is July 22nd as that is the last day that their franchising team can sign them to a long term deal, if not the player can only sign their one-year franchise contract.

Here are the anticipated salaries for franchised players Quarterbacks: $14.65 Million, Cornerbacks: $9.96 Million, Defensive Ends: $8.99 Million, Linebackers: $8.30 Million, Wide Receivers: $9.88 Million, Offensive Lineman: $8.45 Million, Defensive Tackles: $6.06 Million, Running Backs: $6.62 Million, Tight Ends: $4.46 Million, Safeties: $6.34 Million, and Kickers/Punters: $2.48 Million. An “exclusive” franchise player is not free to sign with another team, while a “non-exclusive” franchise player can negotiate with the other teams, but the franchising club has a right to match or receive compensation.

2009 Franchise Designated Players

S Oshiomogho “O.J” Atogwe, UFA St Louis Rams

WR Antonio Bryant, UFA Tampa Bay Buccaneers

QB Matt Cassel, UFA New England Patriots

**LB Karlos Dansby, UFA Arizona Cardinals

K Shayne Graham, UFA, Cincinnati Bengals

**LB Leroy Hill, UFA Seattle Seahawks 

RB Brandon Jacobs, UFA New York Giants

**P Michael Koenen, UFA Atlanta Falcons

DL Julius Peppers, UFA Carolina Panthers 

CB Dunta Robinson, UFA Houston Texans 

**TE Bo Scaife, UFA Tennessee Titans

RB Darren Sproles, UFA San Diego Chargers

**OT Max Starks, UFA Pittsburgh Steelers

OLB/DE Terrell Suggs, UFA Baltimore Ravens

 ** Non-Exclusive

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer for Taking It to the House and an award-winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

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2 Responses

  1. […] Taking it to the House wrote an interesting post today on Franchise Deadline Passes in the NFLHere’s a quick excerpt(Philadelphia, Pa) — Thursday February 19 th was the last day that NFL teams could “franchise” their potential free agents for the 2009 NFL season.  The franchise tag allows for a team to limit a potential free agent’s movements under the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). A team can designate one franchise player in any given year as a “Franchise” player before the start of the Free Agency signing period (February 27 th ). The salary level offered by the designating team determines whether […]

  2. Interesting, both a kicker and punter were tagged, they better be damn good.

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