The business end of the NFL offseason is now underway. Contracts are either renegotiated, ended or, hopefully, extended. Players who will be available as free agents while coming off a career year are expected to receive a big payday, whether from their current team or a new one. Carolina Panthers cornerback and current free agent Josh Norman is one of the bigger names that hasn’t been offered a long-term contract from the Panthers, but instead was given a franchise tag. But what exactly is a franchise tag and what does it mean?
In the NFL, a team uses a franchise tag as a way to keep a player on the team for an additional year until a long-term deal can be reached. This is mostly reserved for high-level players who would be allowed to sign with any team of their choice once they enter the free agent market at the end of their current contract. The player is essentially given a one year contract that is guaranteed with a salary that averages the top five contracts of other players at a similar position. While the franchise tag helps a team save money along with not losing its best player, players dislike being tagged due to the feeling that they are not being paid what they are worth and if there is a drop off in performance, the big pay day they would have received in free agency is no longer there.