The franchise tag is one of an NFL team’s most valuable contractual tools. It allows each club to retain one pending free agent without locking themselves into a long-term deal. When is the NFL’s franchise tag deadline in 2023?
When Is the Franchise Tag Deadline?
NFL teams can begin applying the franchise tag on Feb. 21. The window to use the tag is open for two weeks before closing on March 7 at 4 p.m. ET.
There are two types of franchise tags: exclusive and non-exclusive.
The exclusive tag is used sparingly and is typically reserved for quarterbacks. It does not give the player the ability to negotiate with other teams, but it does give the player a higher salary. The exclusive tender is calculated by averaging the top five cap numbers at the player’s position after the free agent period ends.
This offseason, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson is a candidate for the non-exclusive tag. That designation wouldn’t prevent him from eventually landing with another team, but the Ravens would have to be willing to trade him.
Meanwhile, players on the non-exclusive tag can speak with rival clubs. However, any team that signs a franchise-tagged player to a contract must sacrifice two-first round picks to their previous club, provided that team declines the chance to match the contract offer on the table.
The price of the non-exclusive tender is calculated by averaging the top five cap hits at the position over the previous five years, then adjusting that figure based on the current salary cap.
If a player is tagged in back-to-back years, they will receive 120% of their previous year’s salary. For example, if the Kansas City Chiefs opt to use a second consecutive tag on left tackle Orlando Brown, he’ll earn $19.994 million in 2023, a 20% raise over his 2022 salary.
The franchise tag is fully guaranteed. Once a player signs his franchise tag, he will have until July 17 to work out a long-term contract extension with his team. If that deadline passes, he must play out the season on the one-year tender.
Franchise Tag Values Per Position
Here are the values for the non-exclusive franchise tag, by far the most common tag:
- Quarterback: $32.416 million
- Running back: $10.091 million
- Wide receiver: $19.743 million
- Tight end: $11.345 million
- Offensive line: $18.244 million
- Defensive end: $19.727 million
- Defensive tackle: $18.937 million
- Linebacker: $20.926 million
- Cornerback: $18.14 million
- Safety: $14.46 million
- Kicker/punter: $5.393 million