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NFL franchise tag window opens today; Lamar Jackson, Orlando Brown among candidates

The NFL's tag window is officially open.

Today marks the first day clubs can place the franchise or transition tag on players whose contracts are set to expire. The window runs through March 7.

Don't expect a flurry of tag news immediately as the window opens. Teams generally wait until closer to the end of the tag window to officially make a move, utilizing that time to work on a potential long-term deal. With the NFL Scouting Combine in Indy next week, deals could get done before the tag is needed.

Teams that utilize a tender have until mid-July to work out a multi-year contract with a player. If an extension isn't agreed to by the deadline, the player will spend the 2023 season under the one-year tender.

There are three tender options: 1) Non-exclusive franchise tag; 2) Exclusive franchise tag; 3) Transition tag.

Non-exclusive franchise tag: The most commonly used tag. When most refer to the "franchise tag," they generally talk about the non-exclusive version. This is a one-year tender of the average of the top five salaries at the player's position over the last five years, or 120 percent of his previous salary, whichever is greater. The tagged player can negotiate with other teams, but his current team has the right to match any offer or receive two first-round draft picks as compensation if he signs with another club.

Exclusive franchise tag: Unlike the non-exclusive version, the tagging team retains the sole right to negotiate with the player. The exclusivity raises the pay scale (current average salary versus averaging of the previous five years). This is a one-year tender offer of the average of the top five salaries at the player's position for the current year, or 120 percent of his previous salary, whichever is greater. Few receive the exclusive tag. Generally, players for whom other teams would gladly give up two first-round picks receive this version of the tag -- read: quarterbacks.

Transition tag: The transition tag is a one-year tender offer for the average of the top 10 salaries at the position -- as opposed to the top five for the franchise tag. It guarantees the original club the right of first refusal to match any offer the player might receive from another club. The tagging team is awarded no compensation if it chooses not to match a deal.

The tag figures are based on the salary cap for the upcoming season, which is set at $224.8 million per club, NFL Network Insider Tom Pelissero previously reported.

Each club can use only one tag in a year. The team can rescind the tender before the player signs it, but it counts as being used. A player can be tagged up to three times by his team, with a jump in pay for each occurrence. However, the percentage of the salary cap taken up by the third time generally makes it prohibitive.

Several big names could be tagged this cycle, including Baltimore Ravens QB Lamar Jackson, New York Giants QB Daniel Jones, Seattle Seahawks QB Geno Smith, Kansas City Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown (a second time), and several others.

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