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With the official NFL announcement that the 2023 league salary cap maximum will be set at $224,800,000, we now have confirmation on the official tag non-exclusive tag numbers for the upcoming season as well.

The Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag
When a player is offered a non-exclusive tag, he is still able to negotiate with other organizations. If an offer sheet is submitted and signed by the tagged play, the previous team must match the offer to keep the player. Otherwise, the player will officially sign with the new team, who will send two first round picks to the losing team in order to complete the transaction.

The Exclusive Franchise Tag
The exclusive tag is calculated much differently than the non-exclusive figure, in that it is represented by the Top 5 salaries at the respective position once the restricted free agency period ends (April). Additionally, the player is not allowed to negotiate with other teams at any point under the exclusive tag. If the player is traded after signing the exclusive tag, there is no required trade compensation. The losing team can acquire whatever package of players and/or draft picks they wish to process the transaction.

The Transition Tag
This offering has become less frequent in past offseasons, and is calculated based on the Top 10 salaries for a respective position, making them slightly lower than their corresponding franchise tender. Players are free to negotiate with other teams on a transition tag, and the previous team has the right to match an offer sheet that is signed. However, no draft pick compensation will be transerred should the losing team decline to match the offer sheet.

The Second Tag Scenario
If a player was tagged in the previous season and are offered another tag this offseason, the value of that tag will either be 120% of last year's tag, or the new figure for their respective position - whichever is greater. If a player is tagged a third straight offseason, their new tag value will represent 140% of the previous year's figure.

Important Dates & Notes

  • Teams will have the ability to tag one pending unrestricted free agent from their 2022 roster starting on February 21st, 2023 through 4PM ET on March 7th.
  • Tagged players then have until July 15th, 2023 to negotiate and complete a multi-year contract extension. Once that date passes, the player must play the upcoming season on a 1-year contract - through there are no restrictions to how much or little compensation the player can receive.
  • If 120% of the player's salary from last season is greater than the tag number they will be tagged at the higher figure for the upcoming season.
  • Teams also have the ability to rescind a tag that has not yet been signed, with no ramifications.
  • Some players (Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo, etc...) have language in their contract barring them from receiving a tag offer this offseason. This is becoming more and more common.
  • Each team may only tag one pending free agent in a given year. This includes any tag (meaning a team cannot offer a franchise tag to one player and a transition tag to another player, it's one or the other).

2023 Non-Exclusive Franchise Tag & Transition Tag Figures

Position Franchise Tag Transition Tag
Quarterback $32,416,000 $29,504,000
Running Back $10,091,000 $8,429,000
Wide Receiver $19,743,000 $17,991,000
Tight End $11,345,000 $9,716,000
Offensive Lineman $18,244,000 $16,660,000
Defensive Tackle $18,937,000 $16,068,000
Defensive End $19,727,000 $17,452,000
Linebacker $20,926,000 $17,478,000
Cornerback $18,140,000 $15,791,000
Safety $14,460,000 $11,867,000
Kicker/Punter $5,393,000 $4,869,000

Notable 2023 Tag Candidates

Kaleb McGary (OT, ATL)

Prediction: No Tag

Cost: $18,244,000

This would be quite a story, as the Falcons declined McGary's $13.202M 5th year option for 2023 last May. He went on to post a career year, playing every snap last season. With a new QB likely coming on board, keeping an above average offensive line intact is a clear must, and McGary did enough in 2022 to at least consider throwing an overpriced tag at to keep all options on the table.

Lamar Jackson (QB, BAL)

Prediction: Exclusive Franchise Tag

Cost: $45.2M, but expected to be lower

After a few tumultuous offseasons trying to negotiate a long-term extension, it appears immiment that Jackson will be offered a tag by the Baltimore Ravens in the coming weeks. Exactly which tag will be the first detail to watch for. It's widely expected that Lamar will be offered the Exclusive Franchise Tag, currently estimated to account for $45.2M in 2023. This number comes with a few conditions. 1) Since the actual official exclusive tenders won't lock until April, the Ravens will be able to account for the non-exclusive price ($32.4M) until that happens. 2) Many of the top QB cap hits are going to be restructured (or released) in the coming weeks, largely changing the end result for this exclusive pricepoint. It's perfectly plausible that Lamar's exclusive tag price is only slightly larger than the non-exclusive figure when it's all said and done.

In this regard, it seems a no-brainer to go this route with their franchise QB, especially if a trade out of Baltimore is at least an option this Spring. The Ravens will be seeking a trade price that far exceeds the two first round picks they would assume with a non-exclusive tag trade.

Tremaine Edmunds (LB, BUF)

Prediction: Possible Transition Tag

Cost: $17,478,000

Edmunds saved his best NFL season for his contract year, playing out a $12.7M 5th-year option in 2022. The Bills haven't been quiet about their eagerness to keep him, but Brandon Beane has done very little overpaying as Bills' GM to date. Edmunds isn't a $21M franchise tag candidate, but he's at least a consideration for the $17.4M transition tender this month, despite the fact that Buffalo currently sits about $20M in the red right now.

Jessie Bates III (S, CIN)

Prediction: No Tag

Cost: $15.5M (120% of last year's tag)

Bates wasn't thrilled about being tagged last year, and he held out as long as possible without missing game action, so another go around wouldn't be pretty. The Bengals also drafted safety Daxton Hill in the first round last spring, putting the writing on the wall that their plan was to reset at some point here. It's not improbable to question if the Bengals could tag Bates in order to trade him, but a two first round pick price point seems too rich for most NFL teams.

Tony Pollard (RB, DAL)

Prediction: Franchise Tag

Cost: $10,091,000

Pollard has been the best running back on the Dallas roster for a few seasons now, so to see his rookie contract expire with such a devastating injury is extremely unfortunate. Pollard's recovery time is right around the draft, so he should be available for the majority of offseason workouts. Placing a 1 year guarantee on him seems the right move - regardless of the Cowboys' plans for Zeke Elliott this March.

Dalton Schultz (TE, DAL)

Prediction: No Tag

Cost: $13,117,200 (120% of last year's tag)

Schultz didn't put together quite the same year he posted in 2021, but the connection with Prescott is still clear and obvious. With that said, the late season injury to RB Tony Pollard seems to be a clear path toward him getting the Cowboys' tag this offseason, leaving Schultz headed for the open market.

Jawaan Taylor (OT, JAX)

Prediction: No Tag

Cost: $18,244,000

Don't get me wrong here: Taylor is going to get paid, and the Jaguars are likely trying to keep him in the fold as we speak. Jacksonville likely doesn't have the cap flexibility to warrant an $18M tag placeholder, but if they need to keep him off of the open market and away from what is expected to be massive offers from teams like Chicago, it's not the worst option. Taylor projects to a 4 year, $56M deal in our system.

Evan Engram (TE, JAX)

Prediction: Franchise Tag

Cost: $11,345,000

Engram played out 2022 on what can be considered a "showcase" contract and is certainly looking to capitalize on a strong year this offseason, with a multi-year guarantee in sight. It stands to reason that the two sides aren't too far apart here in terms of extension numbers, so if time is the only issue, slapping an $11M placeholder on him makes a lot of sense. He's likely looking for Hunter Henry's $25M guaranteed here.

Dre'Mont Jones (DE, DEN)

Prediction: Franchise Tag

Cost: $19,727,000

This quietly consistent former 3rd round pick finished 2022 with career highs across the board - despite seeing action in only 13 games. He entered 2022 as a near $8M per year player in our system, and is now on pace to bank a cap-adjusted version of Carl Lawson's 3 year, $45M deal. Denver can prolong the negotiation process with an expensive tag for now, then work to get him under contract before the March 15th league year.

Orlando Brown Jr. (LT, KC)

Prediction: 2nd Tag

Cost: $19,994,400 (120% of last year's tag)

For a top contending team living right up against the cap every year, this certainly isn't the most ideal outcome, but Brown simply hasn't played like the $24M per year tackle he wishes to be contractually. A 2nd tag puts him on a 2 year, $36.5M spread across 2022-2023, which aligns much more with his calculated value - despite the lack of cap flexibility. With no blidside replacement on their roster, using the tag as a placeholder until KC can formulate more options is at least a safe starting point.

Josh Jacobs (RB, LV)

Prediction: Franchise Tag

Cost: $10,091,000

This was a hail mary longshot 12 months ago, especially after Jacobs' 5th-year option was declined. That option would have come with an $8M guarantee for 2023. It now seems a foregone conclusion that the Raiders will offer a $10.1M guarantee via the franchise tag.

Saquon Barkley (RB, NYG)

Prediction: Franchise Tag

Cost: $10,091,000

Barkley looked every bit the weapon in 2022 that he was out of the gate back in 2018, so it's easy to forget that he's had more down than up in 5 seasons. He'll be looking to broach the $12M+ mark on a 2-year guarantee, so starting with a $10.1M tag at least gives the Giants a chance to think more.

Daniel Jones (QB, NYG)

Prediction: Franchise Tag

Cost: $32,416,000

It seems weird to tag the running back instead of the quarterback in this day and age, but the long story short here is that the Giants are probably hoping to see Saquon Barkley sign the tag and play on the 1-year tender for 2023, rather than lock him into the $13M+ per year extension he's rumored to be seeking. Jones remains an inconsistent QB1, but the Giants simply don't have a better option right now. What they do have is a front office & coaching staff that appear to be more than capable of building a roster and scheme that maximizes Jones' strengths. There's probably a $30M per year extension coming soon here.

Jakobi Meyers (WR, NE)

Prediction: No Tag

Cost: $19,743,000

It would be eye-popping to see the Patriots put a number like this on an offensive weapon, but the WR market is thin this offseason, and Meyers' name has already been attached to quite a few teams. Hunter Renfrow's $16M+ deal is a likely starting point in free agency, with Christian Kirk's deal (+ a cap adjustment) extremely plausible. In other words, putting a $19.7M placeholder on Meyers and then placing him on the trade block might be good buiness for New England. So would keeping him.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson (S, PHI)

Prediction: Franchise Tag

Cost: $14,460,000

The Saints knew they were getting into a point of no return with Gardner-Johnson when it came to his next contract, and Philadelphia might be trending toward that direction now as well. There's a world where a $14.4M tag for the 25-year-old actually represents pretty good value, and that sounds like something Howie Roseman would be considering right now. He's a $13.3M player in our system, but there's a 5 year, $80M contract out there for him on the open market.

Geno Smith (QB, SEA)

Prediction: Franchise Tag

Cost: $32,416,000

It still seems crazy, but it's also extremely inevitable at this point. Geno Smith is the best option for the Seahawks in 2023, who have financial flexibility for a 1-year tender like this. It's plausible that he and Daniel Jones sign similiar extensions this offseason, but nobody has warranted the very definition of what a franchise tag was created to be more in recent memory than Geno Smith in 2023.

Da'Ron Payne (DT, WAS)

Prediction: Franchise Tag

Cost: $18,937,000

Payne finally started to put it together in 2022, the final year of his rookie contract, and his calculated value in our system sits just south of $20M per year, but the Commanders have already fed a lot of mouths on their defensive line, and they have plenty of other holes to fill if they seek to remain in divisional contention in the near future. Offering Payne a multi-year extension that provides team flexibility is the safer route here, but he likely walks into the open market this March.