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An explanation of Franchise/Transition designations

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

Monday's final workouts at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine marked the midway point in the two-week period for front offices of the league's 32 teams to designate franchise or transition players.

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As of Feb. 16, teams could tag one player among veteran free agents until the 4 p.m. ET deadline on March 2. The salary offer by a player's club determines whether the franchise player designation is exclusive or non-exclusive (see further explanation below).

Since the system's inception in 1993, the New York Giants have used the tags six times: three franchise and three transition. They are:

  • Jumbo Elliott (franchise) in 1993.
  • Carl Banks (transition) in 1993.
  • Howard Cross (transition) in 1994.
  • Rodney Hampton (transition) in 1996.
  • Brandon Jacobs (franchise) in 2009.
  • Steve Weatherford (franchise) in 2012.

In 2014, four players across the league were designated non-exclusive franchise players: Carolina defensive end Greg Hardy, New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham, New York Jets kicker Nick Folk and Washington linebacker Brian Orakpo. Meanwhile, two were designated as transition players: Cleveland center Alex Mack and Pittsburgh linebacker Jason Worilds.

According to the rules, an "exclusive" franchise player – not free to sign with another club – is offered the greater of:

  • 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.
  • Or the amount of the Required Tender for a "non-exclusive" franchise player, as explained below.

The CBA sets forth the methodology, known as the "Cap Percentage Average," for calculating the Required Tender for such a player:

The Nonexclusive Franchise Tender shall be a one year NFL Player Contract for (A) the average of the five largest Prior Year Salaries for players at the position . . . at which the Franchise Player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year, which average shall be calculated by: (1) summing the amounts of the Franchise Tags for players at that position for the five preceding League Years; (2) dividing the resulting amount by the sum of the Salary Caps for the five preceding League Years . . . ; and (3) multiplying the resulting percentage by the Salary Cap for the upcoming League Year . . . (the "Cap Percentage Average") . . . ; or (B) 120% of his Prior Year Salary, whichever is greater . . . .

If a club extends a Required Tender to a non-exclusive franchise player pursuant to this section, 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.

  • Quarterbacks: $18.51 million
  • Defensive ends: $14.78 million
  • Linebacker: $13.17 million
  • Cornerback: $13.05 million
  • Offensive line: $12.92 million
  • Wide Receivers: $12.8 million
  • Defensive Tackle: $11.17 million
  • Running Backs: $10.93 million
  • Safety: $9.6 million
  • Tight ends: $8.33 million
  • Kicker/Punter: $4.12 million

After this period ends, the 2015 league year and free agency begin on March 10 at 4:00 p.m. ET.

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