The NFL’s annual game of tag has begun

This is always an exciting day every NFL off-season, teams make decisions on whether to retain a player’s services or let them hit the open market. The players at hand must be considered ‘veteran’ players, usually players that are coming off of their initial rookie deals and are restricted free agents or unrestricted free agents. The ‘tag’ allows a team to choose one of those players to stay on the roster for the upcoming year rather.

There ‘franchise’ tag can either be exclusive or non-exclusive, the former being exactly what it sounds like. The tagged player is offered an average of the top five players of their respective positions, but they are not allowed to sign with another team, hence “exclusive.”  If the tag is ‘non-exclusive’ than said player will still be paid the average of the top five players of their respective position but the difference being that they are allowed to sign with a different team. Only there’s a catch, if they do in fact sign with another team, that team would have to send two first round picks to the player’s team that ‘tagged’ them.

There’s also a ‘transition’ tag, this tag means that the player would be getting paid an average of the top 10 players of their respective position. Only, they are allowed to negotiate with other teams. Instead of their being a draft compensation like in a non-exclusive tag, their current or former team in this case would be granted the right of first refusal. They would have the power to veto such a deal, forcing said player to remain on that team for the year.

The deadline for issuing or tagging a franchise player was today at 4pm Eastern, a few teams had some huge decisions to make. The impact of those decisions will be felt around the league come the start of free agency on March 10, teams can start to negotiate with players who will be unrestricted free agents starting as soon as March 7.

Here’s the players that will not be participating in free agency courtesy of being tagged, not one player was given the ‘exclusive’ tag this year.


Player Position
Dallas Dez Bryant WR
Denver Demaryius Thomas WR
Kansas City Justin Houston LB
New England Stephen Gostkowski   K
New York Giants Jason Pierre-Paul DE

The Dallas Cowboys had a choice between tagging Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray, the chose Dez which many expected. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys try and get Murray back or jump into the possible Adrian Peterson sweepstakes, either way they may lose an important part of last year’s team.

The Broncos were in a similar situation as Dallas, they had to choose between two outstanding pass catchers. Demaryius Thomas the wideout and Julius Thomas the tight end, there has been a bit of a ‘smear’ campaign surrounding Julius Thomas but he will surely be missed in Denver.

The Chiefs decision was a no brainer as they can ill afford to lose one of the league’s best pass rushers, but there is a ton of speculation stating that Houston will take his sweet time signing the tender as he didn’t wish to be tagged.

The Patriots, the Super Bowl champions chose to tag their kicker over the very talented safety Devin McCourty. McCourty will be hitting the market as an unrestricted agent, there have also been multiple outlets speculating that the Patriots may not pick up the option ($20 million) on Darrelle Revis.

The New York Giants made a smart move, they tagged arguably their most talented defensive player on the roster in Jason Pierre-Paul.

The lone player that was designated a transition tag was Dolphins tight end Charles Clay, also a smart decision as Clay is a talented young player.

Did these teams make the right decisions? Share your thoughts with us below in the comments section!!

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