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2020 Franchise Tags

Dak Prescott
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

We'll use this thread to keep track of and discuss team decisions on 2020 franchise tags. There have been a number of "team will franchise player X" stories in the news but today the first actual tag announcement came out, Baltimore Ravens OLB Matthew Judon. Judon getting tagged as a linebacker instead of as a defensive end will cost him some money. The new CBA really should make things fair by changing the designations to interior defensive lineman, edge rusher, and off-ball linebacker.

We'll keep a running list of franchise tags here:

Baltimore OLB Matthew Judon

Denver FS Justin Simmons

Jacksonville DE Yannick Ngakoue

Los Angeles Chargers TE Hunter Henry

Washington G Brandon Scherff



Cincinnati WR A.J. Green

Dallas QB Dak Prescott (exclusive)

Kansas City DT Chris Jones

Minnesota S Anthony Harris

New England G Joe Thuney

New York Giants DT Leonard Williams

Pittsburgh OLB Bud Dupree

Tampa Bay OLB Shaq Barrett

Tennessee RB Derrick Henry

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23 comments, Last at 23 Mar 2020, 2:01pm

1 I've always wondered why the…

I've always wondered why the players union is so happy to surrender the franchise tag to teams. It's as uncompetitive a policy as there is and places all of the risk on the player.

Somehow this is not even a thing in the NBA

2 This must be obvious, but I…

This must be obvious, but I think fans like the franchise tag. The team you root for spends a high draft choice on a player. Then coaches him up for 3-5 years to his prime. Then you lose him to some poorly run team that will pay him more than is smart.

3 Sure but it's fundamentally…

Sure but it's fundamentally unfair to the player. also the term coached up vs. Developed inherently is a thorny subject with no evidence pointing  one way or the other. 

fans need to ask themselves if they would be okay if their employer franchise tagged them from getting a better job

12 I would be absolutely…

I would be absolutely thrilled if my employer locked me into a year of the average of the top 5 software developers in the country. 


I already make good money - but top 5 is at least an order of magnitude higher. 


I suspect it would be the same for most of us. 

13 Ah, you had to be the clever…

Ah, you had to be the clever one to point out where my analogy falls through.


Look, its fundamentally used as a gambit to coerce the player into taking either taking a lower contract value than he would receive in free agency or bear the risk of entering next free agency with an injury. As we saw with Bell, refusing and taking the third option gives you the worst result of all.


I don't think its a good thing for the player whatsoever and really rewards the team for no clear reason. Why can't there be a reverse franchise tag? Players enter a lottery and whoever wins the ticket gets a no release clause. Would teams happily sign up for that?

16 You're comparing apples to automobiles

There are only 32 players starting at any single position (QB, RT, slot corner, etc.) on every team. It wouldn't be the top 5 players at that position average if you compared available jobs. There are X number of software companies in the US. Now take the average of the top 16% of software developers' salaries. I realize that's not exactly the case, but it's closer than the top 5 individual salaries for most professionals. You'd still be somewhere around the 92nd percentile in salary. I'm sure that's pretty good for most people. It certainly would have been for me before I retired. 

11 I like the tag, can you…

I like the tag, can you imagine what it would be like for a KC fan if Mahomes decided he wanted to play for someone us because dollars? I don't follow the NBA much anymore, but I'm under the impression that attitude has affected LeBron's legacy. Anyway, I don't see what the color of the skin has to do with it.

18 And ergo for the fans of…

And ergo for the fans of every team. When your star players come and go, what's the team identity in the end? A color combination? It's like what's happening with soccer at the World Cup level. It used to be the French would play for France, the Italians for Italy, etc. Nowadays, it doesn't matter where you were born, you can play for any national team. That may be great for the players, who are free to follow the money, but it erodes the credibility of the sport. At least it does to me.

21 I don't think, absent the…

I don't think absent the franchise tag superstars would leave their teams. I don't think Mahomes would even consider it, unless KC seriously short changed him on salary. Rodgers never left Green Bay. Manning and Favre never left by choice and it took the cosmos to align for Brady to leave NE.  


Despite Dallas being "America's team", they've never been the overwhelming front runner to land free agents. Its always been who can afford what and how much the players can get. 

22 No franchise tag does not…

No franchise tag does not mean start players 'come and go'. It just means they have to be offered market-value contracts.

And... no, soccer players can not play for 'any national team'. You have to be a citizen of the country. Money is not a factor.

23 Yes, you have to be a…

Yes, you have to be a citizen. Let's assume there's no money involved in this, for argument's sake. It's still a fact that many players who cannot play in their "original" national team acquire a new citizenship so they can play for another. I've no idea why this didn't use to be a thing in the past, but it certainly is now.

20 To be fair, the nba created…

To be fair, the nba created this situation because they capped max salaries. Thus, if every team can offer roughly the same amount of money, you will naturally make decisions based on other factors - like tax treatment, weather, appeal of market etc etc.


8 That's only for one year…

That's only for one year. Year your knee and get a minimum contract is not something you'd be happy with.


Assume it's like u taking a one year salary worth 500k and then not getting another wage above minimum. You still want to make that trade?

10 Except it's only given to…

Except it's only given to guys who would otherwise earn more than that and/or who would be able to negotiate a guaranteed salary.

Systemically, the franchise tag suppresses salary increases at the top.  For a team based sport operating under a salary cap, that good for a lot of players, which would explain why the union is okay with it.

For the individual player, the biggest problem with being tagged is the inability to negotiate a long-term guarantee.  You get through your rookie contract without being injured, now you need to navigate another season safely to get long-term financial security.