Franchise Tender Explanation
Each NFL team can designate either one "franchise" or one "transition" player in a given year.
The salary level offer by a player's team determines what type of franchise player he is.
An "exclusive" franchise player -- not free to sign with another team -- is offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries at the player's position for the current year as of mid-April (exact date has not been revealed yet), or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, or the average of the top five salaries at his position as of the end of last season -- whichever of the three is greater.
Oakland Raiders CB Nnamdi Asomugha was the league's only "exclusive" franchise player in 2008.
If the player is offered a minimum of the average of the top five salaries of last season at his position, or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, he becomes a "non-exclusive" franchise player and can negotiate with other team. His old team can match a new team's offer, or receive two first-round draft choices if it decides not to match.
There were 10 veterans named as "non-exclusive" franchise players in 2008.
Transition Tender Explanation
The player's team must offer a minimum of the average of the top 10 salaries of last season at the player's position or 120 percent of the player's previous year's salary, whichever is greater.
A transition player designation gives the team a first-refusal right to match within seven days an offer sheet given to the player by another team after his contract expires. If the team matches, it retains the player. If it does not match, it receives no compensation (see the Steve Hutchinson deal with the Minnesota Vikings back in 2006 as an example of this).
Franchise/Transition Tag Levels
Brian McIntyre of FalconInsider.com examines the approach the Atlanta Falcons may take in free…