Dallas Cowboys

Defining the NFL’s franchise player tag

The Cowboys have until July 15 to sign Dez Bryant, right, to a long-term deal, or he’ll play the 2015 season at the $12.8 million franchise tag.
The Cowboys have until July 15 to sign Dez Bryant, right, to a long-term deal, or he’ll play the 2015 season at the $12.8 million franchise tag. Star-Telegram

Dallas wide receiver Dez Bryant was one of five players in the NFL designated as a franchise player.

The others were wide receiver Demaryius Thomas of Denver, linebacker Justin Houston of Kansas City, kicker Stephen Gostkowski of New England and defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul of the New York Giants.

A team can designate one “franchise” player or one “transition” player among its veteran free agents.

The salary offer by a player’s team determines whether the franchise player designation is exclusive or non-exclusive.

All five of this year’s franchise players are non-exclusive.

The non-exclusive tag is a one-year contract for the average of the five largest salaries at the position or 120 percent of the player’s prior-year salary, whichever is greater. The player can negotiate a contract with any club. However, a draft compensation of two first-round selections shall be made if the player signs with a new club.

The exclusive 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.

A third option, a transition player, is offered the greater of the average of the top 10 prior year salaries at the player’s position or 120 percent of the player’s previous salary.

Miami tight end Charles Clay is the only player designated as a transition player.

Bryant will be guaranteed $12.8 million next season once he signs the deal. The Cowboys have until July 15 to sign Bryant to a long-term deal. If no agreement is reached, he would be forced to play the 2015 season with the tag.

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