A Quick Word On The Franchise Tag

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 16, 2011 – 4:07 pm

Many of you have raised franchise tag-related questions in response to a couple of blog entries this week. Also, a total of 7 NFL teams have utilized the franchise tag in recent days. So we wanted to have a quick word on the blog about the franchise tag as it relates to the Vikings.

Under the rules of the previous Collective Bargaining Agreement, the franchise tag is a mechanism that prevents a team from losing the player given the tag to free agency. The catch, though, is that in order to apply the franchise tag to a player, the team must also tender that player a 1-year guaranteed contract that pays him a minimum of the average of the 5 largest salaries for players at the position at which he played the most games during the prior year, or 120% of his prior year salary, whichever is greater. There are also other details related to the franchise tag, but we won’t go over them right here.

Prevailing thought is that the Vikings have 2 main candidates for the franchise tag – LB Chad Greenway and WR Sidney Rice. DE Ray Edwards could also be a possibility. All 3 of those players are still relatively young and are coming off their first NFL contracts, which is precisely what makes them possible candidates for the franchise tag.

Earlier in the week, Vikings VP of Player Personnel Rick Spielman told reporters that the Vikings are still deciding on what to do with the franchise tag.

“We’re going through that process,” Spielman said. “We’ll look at whether we use the franchise tag or not. That’ll be determined here before the deadline. I think you tie that into your whole process, on whether you’re going to utilize that franchise tag or not. Anything from any type of roster moves or franchise tag or anything like that we’ll probably not buckle up here until another week or two.”

So for those of you wondering what the Vikings will do with the franchise tag, you’re still left to wonder. Spielman acknowledged to reporters that he’s excited about the young nucleus of players on the Vikings roster, and using the franchise tag is one mechanism the club can use to keep a piece of that nucleus intact.

“I think there is a good young nucleus on this football team,” Spielman said. “I also think there are some older guys, too, on this football team. We have a lot of unrestricted free agents up; you’d say you’d love to keep them all, but that’s not the reality so we’ll have to make some tough decisions. But I know we’re pretty excited about some of the youth that we do have on this football team and some of the nucleus and core pieces that we do have in place.”

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