With a March 3 deadline looming, several NFL teams applied franchise tags to players Friday to keep them from entering the open market.
The New York Jets placed their franchise tag on kicker Nick Folk, who made a career-high 33 of 36 field goal attempts this past season, including three game-winners. He’ll make $3.556 million. It was the first time since 2011 that the club used the tag.
The Carolina Panthers used their tag on defensive end Greg Hardy, who tied a franchise record this past season with 15 sacks, second among defensive ends in the league, and earned Pro Bowl and second team All-Pro honors. He and accrued 26 sacks over the last two years. In 2014, he’ll make between $12.45 and $12.62 million. He is the firth player in Panthers history to receive the tag and the first since Ryan Kalil in 2011.
New Orleans Saints tight end Jimmy Graham was also among those tagged, although his situation is rather unique. Graham, who lined up as a wide receiver for 67 percent of his snaps this past season, is asking to be considered a receiver and not a tight end.
Graham caught 86 passes for 1,215 receiving yards in 2013, 13th and 15th in the league respectively. He also caught 16 touchdown passes, more than any player in the league. He led the league in receptions in 2011 and has been in the top three in just about every statistical category for tight ends since his breakout sophomore season.
The franchise tag for tight ends is $7.035 million versus $12.312 million for receivers.
How it works
In a nutshell, each NFL team is given one franchise tag that it has the option of using for one player scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent that year.
The franchise tag amount is determined by taking an average of the top five salaries at each position for each year. Transition tags are a bit different and are calculated by taking the average of the top 10 salaries for each season at each position.
Teams do not have to use franchise tags, but they allow clubs to keep special players from becoming free agents before a new contract can be worked out. They are temporary measures and are only valid for one season.
Last season, just eight players received the tag, after an NFL-record 21 players received it in 2012.
Franchise tags (numbers courtesy of NFL.com)
Quarterback: $16.192 million Running back: $9.54 million Wide receiver: $12.312 million Tight end: $7.035 million Offensive lineman: $11.654 million Defensive end: $13.116 million Defensive tackle: $9.654 million Linebacker: $11.455 million Cornerback: $11.834 million Safety: $8.433 million Kicker/punter: $3.556 million
Quarterback: $14.666 million Running back: $8.033 million Wide receiver: $10.176 million Tight end: $6.106 million Offensive lineman: $10.039 million Defensive end: $10.633 million Defensive tackle: $8.060 million Linebacker: $9.754 million Cornerback: $10.081 million Safety: $7.253 million Kicker/punter: $3.205 million