By Nick Grunewald, WC Reporter

MACOMB, IL (WC) – The franchise tag deadline has come and gone. It presented one last opportunity for teams to assign a tag and prevent players from hitting free agency. Each team could designate one player with the franchise or transition tag, guaranteeing them a premium salary for their position – and more time to work out a potential long-term deal with the player.

How do tags work?

Franchise tags are essentially a one-year contract that a team can place on a player and there are two types: exclusive and non-exclusive.

Exclusive tags stop other teams from getting the chance to negotiate with that player and it pays out an average of the top five salaries at that player’s position or 120% of the players previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. 

Non-exclusive tags pay out an average of the top five tag amounts at the player’s position from the previous five years (applied to the current cap), or 120% of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. The tagged player can negotiate with other teams, but the team that tagged them has the right to match any offer – and they would receive two first round picks even if the player signs elsewhere.

Transitional tags are also one-year contracts. They pay out an average of the top 10 salaries at the player’s position. Players who receive this tag can negotiate with other teams, but the tagging team has the right to match any offer. If the tagging team declines to match, it would not receive any compensation in return

Commanders tag Daron Payne

In a not so surprising move Washington placed the tag on Payne early – the first tagged placed this offseason – ensuring one of the top defensive lineman didn’t hit the open market. Payne was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 2018 draft and is coming off a career year with 11.5 sacks which earned him the right to be named to his first Pro Bowl. 

Cowboys tag Tony Pollard

Coming off his most productive season of his four year career in which he had 1,007 rushing yards, nine rushing touchdowns, 371 receiving yards and three touchdown receptions. His postseason was cut short due to an ankle injury against the 49ers, but he should be ready well before training camp. He would have commanded a lot of money had he hit the market as one of the league’s most explosive players – Dallas ensures he’s a Cowboy for at least one more season.

Raiders tag Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs will be back in Vegas for at least another season as the Raiders applied the franchise tag to the 2022 NFL rushing king – the first Raider to lead the league in rushing since Marcus Allen in 1985. The Raiders decided not to pick up the fifth-year option on Jacobs rookie deal a season ago and now bring him back on the franchise tag after Jacobs was a First Team All-Pro selection with over 2,000 total yards. 

Ravens tag Lamar Jackson

The biggest story all offseason was what Baltimore was going to do with its star quarterback Lamar Jackson. Jackson has had his eyes locked on a fully guaranteed contract – like Deshaun Watson got from Cleveland – but the Ravens haven’t budged on their decision not to go that route. They placed the non-exclusive tag meaning Jackson will have a chance to meet with other teams and Baltimore would get two first round picks back if they decide not to match any offer he gets. The Lamar Jackson saga is far from over, but this was the next domino to fall.

Giants tag Saquon Barkley

After reports surfaced that quarterback Daniel Jones was looking for $45 million per year on a new contract, many thought the Giants would use their tag on him and skepticism arose about the future and possibility of keeping running back Saquon Barkley. Three minutes before the 4 p.m. est. tag deadline, the Giants agreed to a four year extension with Jones and were then able to tag Barkley with minutes to spare. Barkley is coming off his best season since being drafted No.2 overall in 2018 as he rushed for 1,312, 10 touchdowns and is a key piece to their offense. 

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