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Franchise and Transition Tag Numbers by Position


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Franchise & Transition Tags Analysis


The official 2009 Franchise and Transition Tag tender numbers are now known.

To refresh how tenders are established, a Franchise tender is an amount equal to the average of the top five salaries (salary plus other prorated amounts) at that position from the 2008 season. A Transition tender is an amount equal to the average of the top 10 salaries (salary plus other prorated amounts) at that position from the 2008 season. Once a player accepts the tender, the amount is fully guaranteed for the year.

As we approach the tagging period of Feb. 5-19, here are the official numbers, in millions rounded to the nearest ten thousand, with notes about the players and calculations leading to the numbers:

Position Franchise Transition

Quarterback $14.65 $12.44

This group is led by Peyton Manning’s 2008 number of $18.7M, followed by two players who played little in 2008, Tom Brady at $14.6M and Carson Palmer at $14M. The next two quarterbacks played together for three years, with Aaron Rodgers and his new 2008 Cap-heavy deal at $13.9M and Brett Favre at $12M. Our strong belief is that Matt Cassel will have the Franchise tag applied to him, making his 2009 Cap number very similar to that of Brady in 2008.

Cornerback $9.96 $8.37

This number was set by a couple of underperformers in 2008, with Chris McAlister – likely to soon be an ex-Baltimore Raven – at $10.9M , following only Champ Bailey at $12.2M. Nnamdi Ashomugha was franchised in 2008 at $9.765M and is hoping he’s not tagged again. The Raiders’ Cap problems may help his cause.

Wide Receiver $9.88 $8.39

The Colts have the first and 10th numbers in this group, with Marvin Harrison leading the way at $12M and Reggie Wayne 10th at $6.7M. Others setting the pace in this group include Lee Evans and his new 2008 Cap-heavy deal at $10.4M and Vikings free agent signee Bernard Berrian at $9.4M.

Defensive End $8.99 $7.78

Julius Peppers is front and center here, with a 2008 Cap number of $13.9M (meaning if he is franchised, his number will not be the one above but rather 20 percent above his 2008 number, or a prohibitive $16.7M). Others in the group setting these numbers include Jason Taylor, whose future is unclear in Washington or anywhere else, at $7.5M and John Abraham at $8.5M.

Offensive Line $8.45 $7.74

The top two 2008 numbers here went to Cleveland Browns, both being 2007 signings, one a marquee free-agent signing (Eric Steinbach at $9.2M) and one a top draft choice (Joe Thomas at $8.9M). Others include perennial All-Pros Walter Jones ($8.6M) and Orlando Pace ($8.2M). Jordan Gross played on a Franchise tag in 2008 at $7.455M and may be there again at a 20-percent increase to $8.95M.

Linebacker $8.3 $7.48

Like the offensive lineman, the top two 2008 numbers setting this pace were from the same team, with Ray Lewis ($9.4M) and franchised-Terrell Suggs ($8.475M) of the Ravens holding the highest numbers. Suggs’ number was the result of a settled arbitration that determined whether he should be treated as a linebacker or defensive end. Interestingly, both players are going to be free agents pending decisions by the Ravens, a team with Cap issues.

Running Back $6.62 $5.92

The top three numbers here from 2008 all have insecure futures: LaDanian Tomlinson ($7.8M), Edgerrin James ($6.8M) and Jamal Lewis ($6.4M). It will be interesting to see the changes in those numbers in 2009, as well as other vulnerable top 2008 numbers like Larry Johnson ($5.7M) and Deuce McAlister ($4.9M).

Safety $6.34 $5.13

This is another group with some high 2008 numbers that are questions marks for 2009, including Roy Williams ($6.7M) and Darren Sharper ($4.15M). Bob Sanders’ number of $8.2M led the pack.

Defensive Tackle $6.06 $5.45

Albert Haynesworth’s 2008 Franchise number of $7.25M led the group last year and will likely lead again in 2009, although under a new contract since the Titans lost the privilege to tag him again based on his 2008 contract. There were not a lot of high numbers here, although that will change in 2009 when option/roster bonuses kick in for players such as the Browns’ duo of Corey Williams and Shaun Rogers.

Tight End $4.46 $4.07

This is traditionally a number that provides good value to a team if there’s a player worthy of the tag. Tony Gonzalez was the only player at or above $5M in 2008.

Punter/Kicker $2.48 $2.26

Another good value for a tag, with Sebastian Janikowski the only 2008 number over $3M.

There’s much more ahead in the coming weeks as we analyze the decision-making of teams in choosing whether to apply these tenders.


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I think you let TJ walk if you keep Chad. I like tagging Graham for one more season. It will be the cheapest, and a very important position not to have to look for in the draft or FA. TJ can and will be replaced one day. Why over pay for a guy who has declining skills who's production can be replaced by Henry, Caldwell, and Simpson? I know he has been a great player but for $9.88 $8.39 million I say hell no. I am excited to see the young guys play, and keeping TJ and Chad together only limits the younger players snaps. Kind of like what we watched the last couple of years with John Thornton being in the way of Peko, and this year it was Sims and Shirley's snaps. Got to keep cycling through the older players allowing the younger players time if you want to stay competetive.

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Let TJ walk, he is a good WR but he doesn't have elite skills. We developed him into what he is. He was pathetic when we first got him. I remember everybody in the stands booing him all the time. Caldwell had a more productive rookie year than TJ did in my honest opinion. TJ started dropping a lot of dump offs towards the end of the year anyway. He kind of pissed me off when he cowardly sat out of the last game of the year. Both of our prima donna WR's have been acting like they run this team for the last couple years and its hindering the coaches game plans. TJ isn't as flamboyant as Chad but he is always crying throughout every game and it makes the Bengals look dumb.

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