Time to Decide on Franchise Tag

The Ravens are unlikely designate franchise and transition players this year.

Posted by Mike Duffy on Wednesday, February 10th, 2010 at 11:36 am | Categories: Mike Duffy

NFL teams will be allowed to apply the franchise tag (binding one player to a team for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position) to players starting tomorrow, but it’s unlikely that the Ravens will use that designation this year.

The same goes for the two transition tags (binding a player to a team for an amount no less than the average of the top 10 salaries at the player’s position in the previous year) all 32 organizations have.

That’s mainly because of money.

The Ravens have several unrestricted free agents that could garner the tag, but wideouts Derrick Mason and Kelley Washington, defensive tackles Dwan Edwards and Justin Bannan, or even tight end L.J. Smith would probably not be worth it.

Here’s why:

Mason would be the main target, but after earning a reported $3 million last year and declaring the possibility of retirement, Mason would be pegged with a $9.521 million salary as the average of the top five amounts at his position.

With the transition tag, Mason would get $8.651 million.

The same dollar amounts would go to Washington under franchise and transition scenarios.

As defensive tackles, Edwards or Bannan could haul in $7.003 million with the franchise tag or $6.353 million as a transitional player.  Edwards played out a one-year contract that was reported worth $1 million last season, while Bannan finished a four-year deal signed in 2006 that reportedly cost $2 million in 2009.

Reports said that Smith had a $1 million contract last year with a $500,000 signing bonus, but tight ends are guaranteed $5.908 million for the franchise tag and $5.248 million for the transition.

Teams had previously only been allowed one transition player and one franchise player.

The last time the Ravens used their franchise tag was last year, when linebacker/defensive end Terrell Suggs carried that designation until just before training camp to sign a six-year, $62 million contract.

Tags: , , , , , , ,