Major decisions loom as NFL tag season opens

NFL teams can begin using the franchise and transition tag to restrict movement of their soon-to-be free agents.

The offseason “tag” window opens Tuesday with clubs applying the $180 million salary cap and position-specific estimates for transition and franchise decisions.

While official figures won’t be released until late March, the current estimates being used by NFL teams include a one-year franchise tender of $24.112 million at quarterback down to $4.792 million for kickers and punters.

The deadline for teams to use a tag is March 9.

Dak Prescott, NFL
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Franchise tag tenders are based on the top-five salaries for that position. The transition tag figure is an average of the top-10 salaries at a given position.

2021 Franchise and Transition Tag estimates

Position: Franchise Tag, Transition Tag

  • QB: $24,112,000, $21,749,000
  • DE: $17,752,000, $14,811,000
  • WR: $16,430,000, $14,269,000
  • LB: $15,657,000, $13,406,000
  • CB: $15,266,000, $13,202,000
  • OL: $14,507,000, $13,156,000
  • DT: $14,178,000, $11,405,000
  • S: $11,196,000, $9,550,000
  • RB: $11,112,000, $8,942,000
  • TE: $10,167,000, $8,576,000
  • ST: $4,792,000, $4,382,000

Each team can use only one tag — franchise or transition — and a player can be tagged up to three times by the same team.

The estimates would not apply to players with salaries exceeding the 2021 contract tender figures. For example, Dak Prescott‘s 2020 salary of $31.4 million was an accelerated value based on the Dallas Cowboys applying the “exclusive” franchise tag. Under the exclusive tag, players cannot negotiate with other teams.

Prescott was one of 15 players given a tag last offseason. The quarterback is widely expected to receive the franchise tag again if a long-term contract isn’t reached in the coming days.

Once a team has applied the restrictive tag, it can continue negotiations toward a long-term contract until July 15.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)