Franchise Tag Tracker

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Deadlines spur action. Monday's 4 p.m. ET franchise tag deadline was no different.

A bevy of teams were in line to use the one-year leverage tag or at least consider using it on their Pro Bowl-caliber players.

Explaining the tag



» The exclusive franchise tag 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, or 120 percent of the player's previous salary, whichever is greater. The player's team has all negotiating rights to the player.

» The non-exclusive franchise tag 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, 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.

» The transition tag is a one-year tender offer to a player for an amount that is the average of the top 10 salaries at the position. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player may receive from another team. The transition tag can only be used if the franchise tag is not used by a team in that year. Transition tags can be rescinded, but teams that rescind a transition tag cannot use it again until next season.

Below are the teams who used their tag in the first serious movement prior to the start of free agency.

Tagged:


Justin Houston, Kansas City Chiefs, linebacker: The NFL's leading sack-man with 22 in 2014 will remain under Andy Reid's guidance. Just 26, Houston has made three straight Pro Bowls and was the key to the Chiefs' front-seven dominance last year. The linebacker won't sign the tag ($13.195 million) right away, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reports.

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos, wide receiver: The wideout earned 469 targets, 297 receptions, 4,483 yards, 15.1 yards per reception and 35 touchdowns over the past three seasons with Peyton Manning at the helm. Keeping him in Denver was the Broncos' offseason priority. Now they hope to use the ($12.823 million) tag leverage to get a long-term deal done.

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys, wide receiver: A long-term deal will be tricky to work out, but Jerry Jones made it clear he would never let Bryant walk away. This means that DeMarco Murray should hit free agency and will probably leave Dallas.

Jason Pierre-Paul, New York Giants, defensive end: Rapoport broke the news that JPP will remain a Giant. Tagging him will cost the Giants $14.813 million, so they will desperately try to work out a long-term contract. Observers slept on Pierre-Paul's quietly excellent 2014 campaign which included dominant run-stopping play. The Giants know how valuable he is.

Stephen Gostkowski, New England Patriots, kicker: Rapoport reported that the Patriots have franchise tagged Gostkowski. His tag carries a $4.56 million figure. 

Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins, tight end: Clay received the Dolphins' transition tag, the team announced. Clay will receive $7.071 million under the under the transition tag. Clay can sign an offer sheet with any team he wants, but the Dolphins will have the right to match any contract.

Not Tagged:


Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions, defensive tackle: In the end the $26.8 million tag number proved too rich for the Lions' brass. Suh will be the rare Hall-of-Fame-caliber player to hit free agency in his prime. Jockeying for his services should thrust his contract north of the six-year, $100 million deal J.J. Watt signed.

Julius Thomas, Denver Broncos, tight end: By tagging Demaryius Thomas, the Broncos will allow the tight end to test free agency. Many teams are said to be interested in pursuing the uber-athletic pass catcher. His market will likely price him out of Denver.

DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys, running back: The Cowboys will find out if it was their offensive line or Murray that truly made their running game roll in 2014. He's likely to get paid more elsewhere.

Devin McCourty, New England Patriots, safety: Following the Patriots' decision to franchise tag Gostkowski, McCourty will likely hit the free agent market. 

Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers, wide receiver: The Packers have plenty of cap space and want to retain the shifty receiver, but not at the $12.823 million level. Cobb will be the top free agent target for receiver-needy teams.

Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles, wide receiver: Maclin bet on himself last year and it paid off. The receiver is confident a deal could get done in Philly -- an offense that might be his best fit -- however he could find interest from teams like the Chiefs who have a need at the position and a connection with Andy Reid.

Jerry Hughes, Buffalo Bills, defensive lineman: A top-10 free agent on our 101 list, Hughes has averaged 10.0 sacks and 40 quarterback hurries over the past two years. He should get plenty of attention on the open market.

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns, tight end: Cameron has concussion questions to answer, but is the next best available tight end after Julius Thomas to hit the open market without strings attached.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down the annual "Top 101 free agents" list and discusses the latest in league news. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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