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NFL Teams Tell Players Expecting To Be Free Agents: “Tag, You’re It.”

Free Agents Of The NFL Every player wants to be known as a franchise player. But in the NFL, no pending free agent wants to be the franchise player....

Free Agents Of The NFL

Every player wants to be known as a franchise player. But in the NFL, no pending free agent wants to be the franchise player.

NFL teams can designate one player a year as their franchise player when his contract is up. They agree to pay him a top wage for one year while the player demands the security of a long-term contract.

As the NFL’s grand high exalted mystic rules congregated at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, much wisdom seems to have been exchanged. And with free agency less than two weeks away, Monday became “tag, you’re it” day.

Here’s the scorecard:
– Atlanta Falcons: Placed the franchise tag on defensive tackle Grady Jarrett.
– Dallas Cowboys: Tagged defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence for the second straight year. This will put $20.5 million in Lawrence’s pocket, but he has already threatened not to sign it. Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell, when tagged a second straight time last season, sat out the entire year.
– Houston Texans: Tagged outside linebacker Jadaveon Clowney.
– Kansas City Chiefs: Tagged outside linebacker Dee Ford.
– Seattle Seahawks: Tagged defensive end Frank Clark.

See anything common to all here? Yep. Good pass rushers. Including Jarrett, who lines up inside but had six sacks last season.

These players will be basically not be negotiating with any other teams. Any team signing a franchise player to an offer sheet must be willing to part with two No. 1 draft picks as compensation, and the player’s current team can match the dal. Rarely do franchise players get offers. Even when they are marquee pass rushers. The dollars are high on a multi-year deal and those two No. 1 picks are also costly.

So here’s a case where players, who always want to loved, would clearly like being loved just a little less.

 
 
Post By: Larry Weisman, a longtime sportswriter for USA TODAY, blogs for Twistity.com. Follow him on Twitter @MrLarryWeisman

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