There seemed to be a bit of confusion today in Jetsland over an article Manish Mehta wrote in which he stated that if the Jets were to consider using the Franchise tag on Antonio Cromartie in 2015 that it would cost the team $17.74 million dollars. Some people I know felt that couldn’t be the number because the Franchise tags are smoothed out in the new CBA and would project closer to $10 million for corners. But Manish was correct and here’s why.
All Franchise Tenders are not created equal. The CBA has various rules in place for Franchise tag values. The numbers are dependent on exclusivity of the tag, position played, times being named the Franchise player, and prior years’ salary. In the case of Cromartie he falls under the category of prior years salary.
The Franchise tender information published by the NFL is the minimum amount that a Franchise player must earn. If his salary the year before is close to or exceeds the number he is entitled to 120% of his prior years salary. The loose definition of salary in this case would be salary cap number minus workout bonus.
For Cromartie his 2014 salary for the Franchise calculation is $14.78 million. That number is made up of a $4.3 million dollar base salary, $5 million dollar roster bonus, and $5.48 million in prorated dollars. That makes his 2015 tag value equal to the number from Manish’s article. At those kind of cap numbers it is highly unlikely that he would be on the Jets, which is why the Jets will either extend him after this season or trade or cut him before his roster bonus is due in March of 2014. The Jets had restructured his contract in 2013 for cap relief but took a cautious approach and did not consider extending him despite the down market at the position.
Beyond Cromartie though that got me to thinking about players in the final year of their contract this season that could see their Franchise tenders be so high that the tag is not even an option for the team. Digging through my lists these were the names and approximate tag figures I have for the players (that means there is always a chance for a mistake) that I thought might make someone think twice before applying the tag. In the case of Anthony Spencer his tag will actually be that of a Quarterback because this is his third time tagged, so his real value is higher than this. I believe Vinatieri only played on the tag once in New England. If it was twice he may also be able to earn the QB tag value.
Jason is the founder of OTC and has been studying NFL contracts and the salary cap for over 15 years. Jason has co-authored two books about the NFL, Crunching Numbers and the Drafting Stage, which are widely circulated in the industry and hosts the OTC Podcast. Jason’s work has been featured in various publications including the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated, NFL Network and more. OTC is widely considered the leading authority on contract matters in the NFL.