Teams Option to Tag Begins Today

Brian Bassett , TheJetsBlog.com

Today marks the first day that teams are allowed to use their franchise or transition tag designations on players — teams can do so any time in the next two weeks with the franchise tag deadline set for teams on March 4.  Open free agency starts in March 12.  

Franchise tag affixes a value that the Jets would then have to pay or at least put a longer term contract that the player would then sign in place to avoid the full tag price.  That player can’t negotiate with other teams without the Jets consent and would be compensated (generally draft picks) should a trade then take place.  A transition tag is nothing more than a first right of refusal, and few teams ever use transition tags.  As best I can tell, Max Starks of the Steelers in 2008 was the last time it was used in the NFL.

As for the Jets?  The Jets might not have many players who might qualify as free agents who would be worth tagging, but if I had to choose a player or two to consider for the tag, it would have to be either Dustin Keller or LaRon Landry.  Tagging LaRon would ensure that the Jets paid him $6.8 million for this season – probably more than the Jets would want to spend.  On the other hand, paying Dustin Keller $5.9 million seems more probable.  Of course the Jets have to wonder if they’d be bidding against themselves based on how 2012 went.  Still, Keller had one of the league’s highest catch rates (78%) of all Tight Ends in 2012, despite playing with the scattershot Mark Sanchez. Due to the injuries, Keller’s production was severely limited.  Keller is athletic and talented, but there might not be many teams lining up to give him a big contract  once free agency begins — but then again it only takes one.   

Here’s the projected franchise tag list and the costs associated with each position.   

Quarterback
Franchise: $14.6 million
Transition: $12.8 million

Running back
Franchise: $8.0 million
Transition: $6.8 million

Wide receiver
Franchise: $10.3 million
Transition: $8.7 million

Tight end
Franchise: $5.9 million
Transition: $5.1 million

Offensive line

Franchise: $9.6 million
Transition: $8.5 million

Defensive tackle
Franchise: $8.3 million
Transition: $6.9 million

Defensive end
Franchise: $10.9 million
Transition: $9.0 million

Linebacker
Franchise: $9.4 million
Transition: $8.2 million

Cornerback
Franchise: $10.6 million
Transition: $8.9 million

Safety
Franchise: $6.8 million
Transition: $5.9 million

Punters/Kickers
Franchise: $2.9 million
Transition: $2.6 million