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NFL franchise tag window opens; Giants' tag history


Tuesday marks the beginning of a two-week period for clubs to designate franchise or transition players among their pending free agents. Front offices have until 4 p.m. ET on March 9 to do so before free agency opens on March 17, the day the 2021 league year officially starts.

Last season, 14 players were given the franchise tag, including Giants DT Leonard Williams. The others were:

  • LB Matthew​ Judon (Bears)
  • WR A.J. Green (Bengals)
  • QB Dak Prescott* (Cowboys)
  • S Justin Simmons (Broncos)
  • Yannick Ngakoue (Jaguars)
  • DT Chris Jones (Chiefs)
  • TE Hunter Henry (Chargers)
  • S Anthony Harris (Vikings)
  • OL Joe Thuney (Patriots)
  • LB Bud Dupree (Steelers)
  • LB Shaquil Barrett (Buccaneers)
  • RB Derrick Henry (Titans)
  • OL Brandon Scherff (Washington)

*Denotes Exclusive Franchise Player

One player – Cardinals RB Kenyon Drake – was designated as a transition player.

Since the system's inception in 1993, the New York Giants have used the tags nine times – six franchise and three transition – on eight players.

  • OT Jumbo Elliott (franchise) in 1993
  • LB Carl Banks (transition) in 1993
  • TE Howard Cross (transition) in 1994
  • RB Rodney Hampton (transition) in 1996
  • RB Brandon Jacobs (franchise) in 2009
  • P Steve Weatherford (franchise) in 2012
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (franchise) in 2015 and 2017
  • DT Leonard Williams in 2020

View the players set to become free agents when the new league year begins March 17.

A club can designate one "franchise" player or one "transition" player among its veteran free agents.

The salary offer by a player's club determines whether the franchise player designation is non-exclusive (most common) or exclusive.

An "exclusive" franchise player – not free to sign with another club – is offered the greater of (i) the average of the top five salaries at the player's position for the current year as of the end of the restricted free agent signing period on April 17; or (ii) the amount of the required tender for a "non-exclusive" franchise player.

​If a club extends a required tender to a non-exclusive franchise player, the player shall be permitted to negotiate a player contract with any club, except that draft choice compensation of two first-round draft selections shall be made in the event he signs with a new club.

A "transition" player is offered the greater of (i) the average of the top 10 prior year salaries at the player's position, which average is calculated using the same methodology used for non-exclusive franchise players (the Cap Percentage Average); or (ii) 120% of his prior year salary.

If a club extends a required tender to a transition player, the player shall be permitted to negotiate a contract with any club subject to his prior club's right of first refusal, except that no draft choice compensation shall be made with respect to such player if his prior club declines to exercise its right of first refusal.

Here are other important dates coming up on the NFL calendar:

March 9: Deadline for clubs to designate Franchise or Transition Players.

March 15-17: Clubs are permitted to contact, and enter into contract negotiations with, the certified agents of players who will become Unrestricted Free Agents upon the expiration of their 2020 player contracts. They cannot sign until the start of the new league year.

March 17: The 2021 league year and free agency period begin at 4 p.m. ET.

April 23: Deadline for Restricted Free Agents to sign offer sheets.

April 29-May 1: 2021 NFL Draft, Cleveland, Ohio.

View photos of Giants who have been tagged in the past.


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