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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.

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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