Franchise Player Talk … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs

It’s a description that has never been quite right:

Franchise player.

The designation came with the collective bargaining agreement reached between the players and owners back in 1993. The idea was to allow NFL teams to restrict the movement of one of the players that would become a free agent. The player would lose his ability to leave his team, but he would be guaranteed one of the highest paid contracts at his position for that one season.

For the 2012 NFL season that will begin in less than two weeks, teams have until Monday to designate a franchise player. For the Chiefs, that likely means WR Dwayne Bowe will get tagged. He’s set to become a free agent on March 13 and progress on negotiations between Bowe and the Chiefs has not produced a contract agreement. On Thursday, the Philadelphia Eagles became the first team to exercise the designation as they tagged WR DeSean Jackson. Oakland was right behind and slapped the franchise on SS Tyvon Branch. Since then, 10 more teams have used their franchise tag on players at a variety of positions: Arizona DE Calais Campbell, Atlanta CB Brent Grimes, Baltimore RB Ray Rice, Chicago RB Matt Forte, Cincinnati K Mike Nugent, Cleveland K Phil Dawson, New Orleans QB Drew Brees, San Francisco S Dashon Goldson and Washington TE Fred Davis.

A franchise player has nothing to do with that player being the most important part of the team. It’s far different than say the term franchise quarterback or franchise running back, a term that describes a player who is among the league’s best and is one of the team’s cornerstones.

It’s simply a term used in the dance of negotiations between players and teams and provides no special status to the guy who gets tagged. Backup players have been franchise players. Kickers have been tagged. Punters have worn the “FP”.

Over the last two decades the franchise player designation has become controversial with the players. Some players react violently to the idea of being slapped with the tag. They view it as a trick by management that’s keeping them from getting a big contract. Sometimes, that’s very much the case. A team will pay out a huge one-year franchise tender to a player, rather than sign him to a long-term deal with a major signing bonus.

Neither Bowe nor his agent Todd France had anything to say publicly about the potential for the Chiefs using the franchise tag. The difference in money in 2012 would be huge for Bowe. Follow along here and we’ll explain why.

If Bowe gets slapped with the franchise player designation, early indications are he will receive $9.4 million for the 2012 season. Say he was offered that tender as franchise player on Monday. He could sign it immediately and the $9.4 million would be guaranteed no matter if he was hurt on the football field or run over by a bus off the field.

Say Bowe doesn’t get the Chiefs franchise player tag and becomes an unrestricted free agent. Based on what he’s done over his career, his contract offer should not be anything less than what Santonio Holmes signed last year with the Jets – a 5-year, $45 million with $24 million guaranteed. If he was able to get that contract, it would be $24 million guaranteed and certainly far more than $9.4 million in that first season.

Now don’t feel sorry for DBowe or any of the other franchise players; it’s not like they walk out of the deal minus any big money. It’s just not as much as they would realize if they were free from any connection to their previous team.

Here were the early projections on what the franchise tenders at each position would be for 2012. As of Thursday night, the league had not released the final numbers.






Wide receiver










Running back





Tight end





Offensive line





Defensive end





Defensive tackle




















The numbers are down this year from last year largely because the salary cap figures to be flat compared to last season, with little or even no increase.

There are two types of designations: the exclusive rights franchise tag, and non-exclusive rights franchise tag:

An “exclusive” franchise player must be offered a one-year contract equal to an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position over the last five seasons or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. Exclusive franchise players cannot negotiate with other teams.

A “non-exclusive” franchise player must be offered a one-year contract for an amount no less than the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position over the last five seasons, or 120 percent of the player’s previous year’s salary, whichever is greater. He may negotiate with other NFL teams, but if he signs an offer sheet, the original team has the right to match terms of that offer. If it does not match the offer, the club received two first-round draft picks as compensation.

Either designation will provide a nice paycheck for Bowe and other potential franchise players.

16 Responses to “Franchise Player Talk … Weekend Cup O’Chiefs”

  • March 3, 2012  - johnfromwichita says:

    I’ll probably be mocked for life for this: I would not give Bowe the tag. I’d give it to Carr. Bowe has made some catches that caused me to leap out of my seat. He, alas, has dropped some that had my forehead sink to my knees. Other teams know about his risk factor so I’m not sure he’s going to get a fantastic offer. We can pick up somebody in draft or FA. Carr is good and getting better and there is coming to a point that the most important section of an NFL team is the defense secondary. (OK. next to offense line) There must be a reason why the francise tag for a coner back is 1.2 million more than for a wide receiver.

  • March 4, 2012  - el cid says:

    John, Bowe has the Chiefs over a barrel and his agent knows it. For Pioli’s first 2 years, he chose to ignor the WR need. He ran every rummy, off the street guy to fill starting positions opposite Bowe. Last year, we got Breaston and Baldwin and moved McCluster to RB. Old news I grant you but still the truth.

    Now Bowe gets a payday partly in thanks to Pioli’s NEway view of how to run the Chiefs. If the Chiefs chose to let Bowe walk, who is the go to guy when this season starts? No one with a track record.

  • March 4, 2012  - johnfromwichita says:

    Cid, I know and appreciate that viewpoint. But if we get the Cassel that I saw last year (I still think most of the problem came from the line, or lack of) it will be run first and pass when we have to, despite new offense goal of “attack”. In that mode a tight end, running back, slot back makes for just as good a target as an overpaid receiver who may actually drop the pass. I think you’re right and we’ll tag Bowe but you will never see me wearing his jersey.

  • March 4, 2012  - el cid says:

    John could not disagree more. If I am on defense, without Bowe, you can forget the downfield pass. DBs play it tight and keep everyone in front of them. After the 8 game Moeaki will be gone, pound McCluster as he crosses the line, double on Breaston and Baldwin (really unnecessary but….) and stop the run. The Chiefs are going no where for most of any game. This team is going to be run first team but at some point you have to get 8 or more out of the box. Without Bowe, who is the passing threat, Markhausen?

  • March 4, 2012  - johnfromwichita says:

    You’re probably right, Cid. We can’t win on one to seven yard pass routes. Can any of the other receviers take over? Probably not even thou I’d like to gamble on it. We’re not entirely sure what they have planed for in FA and draft. The safe thing to do is tag Bowe. Screw it. Am taking a 6 and 7 year old grandaughters to the movies for second day in a row to see “The secret life of” somebody after yesterdays “Dr Suess Lorax”. That’s a lot more fun than watching Bowe drop balls.

  • March 4, 2012  - el cid says:

    I am with you, two of my granddaughters thought the Lorax was the “best ever, grandpa”. At least the popcorn was good.

  • March 4, 2012  - cychief24 says:

    I would go with the non-exclusive rights tag on Bowe. If it’s reasonable we match, fine. If he gets crazy money we get two 1′s and can pick a deep threat with one of those that maybe won’t drop so many like Bowe does.
    None of this matters unless we get a competent RT.

  • March 4, 2012  - Michael says:

    2012 Free Agent shopping list for Chiefs, Pioli

    9 days until the free agency period opens. Who is available that could help the Chiefs at each position? Here’s who is available at Offensive Tackle:

    • Jared Gaither, Chargers. The only possible starting left tackle available. Rumors that Levi Brown, Cardinals, may be released, but he would still be better at RT.
    • Willie Colon and Max Starks, Steelers.
    • Anthony Collins and Dennis Roland, Bengals.
    • Pat McQisten, Saints
    • Lydon Murtha, Dolphins-King Dunlap, Eagles-James Lee, Bucs

    A couple of 10-plus year veterans who could hold the fort for a year or two: Kareem McKenzie, Giants-Marc Colombo, Dolphins. The good news is that all of these guys would be upgrades from Richardson at RT (based on his 2011 play). Chiefs may still want to re-sign Richardson for a backup.
    6-6, 330 long-armed Right Tackles with starting experience don’t grow on trees.

  • March 4, 2012  - johnfromwichita says:

    Richardson is actually a backup of sorts. Need to call a plummer.

  • March 4, 2012  - rufus says:

    well I would have signed Bowe to a 2 year deal worth something close per season to what he wants. I would then trade him.

  • March 5, 2012  - el cid says:

    As long as the Chiefs “upgrade” any position, every player should be considered for trading. This includes Cassel (or it should), Jackson, Dorsey, Bowe, Moeaki, heck, the whole darned team. That is how the NFL works.

    That said, Pioli has made Bowe “indespensable” because his answer for WR has been guys off the street and draft pick like Lawrence (now a DB, if he sticks in the league somewhere). We have Baldwin, a questionmark, and Breaswton, a #3 WR. Now the Chiefs have to pay for it.

  • March 5, 2012  - Michael says:

    I think Breaston is more of a #2 receiver. Baldwin, if he develops as expected, will be somewhere between a #1 and #2 receiver.

  • March 5, 2012  - Michael says:

    2012 Free Agent shopping list for Chiefs, Pioli

    8 days until the free agency period opens. Who is available that could help the Chiefs at each position? Here’s Offensive Guards:
    • Carl Nicks, Saints
    • Ben Grubbs, Ravens
    • Vernon Carey, Dolphins (can also start at Right Tackle)
    • Bobbie Williams, Bengals-Sean Locklear, Redskins-Floyd Womack, Cardinals. A group of better than average veterans
    • Nate Livings, Bengals-Mike Mcglynn, Benglas-Jake Scott, Titans-John Greco, Browns-Dan Connolly, Patriots. A group of up and comer younger vets.
    Nicks and Grubbs are set to get big paydays. After them, I think Carey is the best option, but not at guard. He’s probably the best option to play right tackle for the Chiefs. With the rest of the guys, you have to decide if they are or will be better than what you already have. If the answer is, no, and you don’t think you can land what you need in the draft, choosing from the group of younger vets would be wise.

  • March 5, 2012  - Michael says:

    2012 Free Agent shopping list for Chiefs, Pioli

    9 days until the free agency period opens. Who is available that could help the Chiefs at each position? Here’s Centers:

    • Chris Myers, Texans-Dan Koppen, Patriots-Scott Wells, Packers, Nick Hardwick, Chargers
    • Samson Satele, Raiders
    • Jeff Saturday, Colts

    Rodney Hudson is set to start for the Chiefs, so I don’t see them signing any of these guys unless they sign Manning. Then, they might bring Saturday on board.

  • March 5, 2012  - el cid says:

    Tell you what Mikey, let’s go into the 2012 season with Baldwin as a “maybe #1″ and Breaston as a #2. Let’s see how that works out, of course we could lose a lot of games waiting for the 2013 draft to find a “real” #1.

  • March 5, 2012  - Michael says:

    Why would I want to do that?

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