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Franchise Tags Begin Today

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Rich Barnes-US PRESSWIRE

Today is the first day teams can use the franchise tag on pending free agents. For a refresher on how the franchise tag works, you can click here.

With the non-exclusive franchise tag, a player must be offered a one-year contract based on the average of the non-exclusive franchise numbers at his position over the last five years and their percentage of the current year's salary cap or 120 percent of his prior year's salary (usually salary cap number), whichever is greater. This tag allows the player to negotiate with other NFL teams but if he signs an offer sheet with another club, his team has five days to match the offer. If the offer is not matched, his team will receive two first-round picks as compensation from the signing team.

Under the exclusive franchise tag, a player will receive a one-year offer from his team that is the greater of the average of the top five salaries at his position once the restricted free-agent signing period has ended (May 2) or 120 percent of his prior year's salary. A player cannot negotiate with other teams with the exclusive franchise tag.

I do not expect the Jets to use the tag. There just would not be a player for whom it makes sense. Austin Howard is probably the best free agent. Giving him the tag would likely cost around $10 million and only lock him up for one year. The Jets would clearly be better off with a longer term type of deal at a significantly smaller annual cost.