Of the 14 Buffalo Bills who are going to hit the market at the start of the league year, none of them appear worthy of the franchise tag. The one-year salary for that player would be the average of the five highest players in the NFL at that position and none of the free agents are in the conversation for that kind of money or value.
Only six teams have elected to use their franchise tag this season, five of the players tagged play on the defensive line and the other is a kicker.
- Dallas Cowboys: DE DeMarcus Lawrence
- Seattle Seahawks: DE Frank Clark
- Houston Texans: ER Jadeveon Clowney
- Kansas City Chiefs: OLB Dee Ford
- Atlanta Falcons: DL Grady Jarrett
- San Francisco 49ers: K Robbie Gould
The players on this list will be happy to know that their salary under the franchise tag will be more than previous years, thanks to the ever-widening NFL salary cap.
As @RapSheet said, the salary cap for 2019 has been set at $188.2 million. Via a league memo, here are the official franchise and transition tag numbers sent to teams today ... pic.twitter.com/vBAozKu7OY— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 1, 2019
There are three different types of franchise tags that NFL teams have the option to use. Here’s an excerpt of an article from NFL.com that explains the difference between the three:
Non-exclusive franchise tag: This is the most commonly used tag. When most people refer to the “franchise tag” it’s generally the non-exclusive version to which they are discussing. It is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position over the last five years, or 120 percent of the player’s previous salary, whichever is greater. The player can negotiate with other teams. The player’s current team has the right to match any offer, or receive two first-round picks as compensation.
Exclusive franchise tag: A one-year tender offer to a player for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position for the current year, or 120 percent of the player’s previous salary, whichever is greater. The player’s team has all negotiating rights to the player. The bump in pay scale (current average salary versus averaging past five years of data) means only the crème de la crème get this tag (think: Drew Brees or Von Miller).
Transition tag: Think of this as the “you are pretty good, and we might want to keep you, but aren’t willing to put a ring on you ourselves” tag. The transition designation is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount that is the average of the top 10 salaries at the position -- as opposed to top five. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player might receive from another team, but no compensation if the team chooses not to match.”
Of the teams above, they will have until the middle of summer (July 15th) to reach a new contract with the player before they will have to play the 2019 season under their given tag. Of course, players who are unhappy in their situation, like Le'Veon Bell, can sit out in hopes of a new deal while losing out on being paid like a top-five player at their respective position.
The Bills have only placed the franchise tag on five different occasions since 1993 when the franchise tag was implemented:
- John Fina: OL (1996)
- Peerless Price: WR (2003)
- Nate Clements: CB (2006)
- Jairus Byrd: FS (2013)
- Cordy Glenn: OT (2016)