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How to Use the Franchise Tag When You Don’t Want To

Staying competitive requires GMs to assess and capitalize on any available value. Every piece of your roster must be tradeable. This includes the franchise tag in salary cap leagues. While franchise tag prices vary from site to site, the concept is the same.

What is the Franchise Tag?

Per RSO’s website, “The exclusive franchise tag is calculated the same way the exclusive franchise tag is calculated in real life, the greater of (a) the average of the five highest-paid players at a given position, which is unique to each league, or (b) 120% of the player’s previous year salary. For the player’s third consecutive tag, the calculation changes to the greater of (a) the highest calculated tag value at any position or (b) 144% of the player’s previous year salary. Players can be franchised in three consecutive seasons but may not be franchised a fourth consecutive season.”

Once tagged, the GM has the ability to sign them to an extension (usually it is similar in value to the franchise tag but with more seasons of control).

The Franchise Tag as a Trade Asset 

During every offseason, a general manager must review their roster to determine if they have a player that warrants a franchise tag. However, a general manager does not have to use their franchise tag and can forgo it. There have been many seasons when I have not used the franchise (i.e., this season, I can franchise tag Cordarrelle Patterson at over $37 million for the 2022 season, which I won’t). Do I let that franchise tag expire and do nothing?


Shop the franchise tag. What do I mean by shop the franchise tag? You can’t trade away the ability to use a franchise tag nor roll it over to next season. Each team can only use it once a season. However, another team could be interested in them at the franchise tag amount. The other team may not offer full value, but if you just let that player walk, you get ZERO value. Your team may have little cap space, but a valuable player. For example, you may have Nick Chubb, whose rookie contract expired at the end of last season. Your team has $22 million in cap space, and the franchise tag is $27 million for the 2022 season. Does it make good business sense to let Nick Chubb walk for nothing? No, it doesn’t! You can contact your league mates to identify any interest in Nick Chubb on the franchise tag. There may be a team that will part with significant value for a player you cannot retain. 

To be successful long-term, a GM must learn to utilize all their assets for their benefit. The franchise tag is a perfect example of a traceable asset for a valuable return.

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