What is a Franchise Tag?

Discover what a franchise tag is and how it impacts players and teams in professional sports. Learn about examples, case studies, and statistics in this comprehensive guide.


Franchise tags are commonly used in professional sports leagues to retain top-tier players on a team. This article will explore the concept of the franchise tag, its purpose, how it works, and its impact on players and teams.

What is a Franchise Tag?

A franchise tag is a designation that a sports team can use to retain a player for one more season. It allows the team to prevent a player from becoming an unrestricted free agent and negotiating with other teams.

How Does it Work?

When a team decides to use the franchise tag on a player, they must offer them a one-year contract that is typically the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position for the current season. The player can choose to sign the offer or negotiate a long-term deal with the team.

Impact on Players and Teams

For players, the franchise tag can be seen as both a blessing and a curse. While it guarantees them a significant salary for one more season, it also limits their ability to test the market and secure a long-term deal with other teams. For teams, the franchise tag allows them to retain key players, but it also comes with a hefty price tag and can create tension between the player and the organization.

Examples and Case Studies

  • Example 1: In the NFL, the Dallas Cowboys used the franchise tag on quarterback Dak Prescott in 2020 to keep him on the team for one more season.
  • Case Study: In the NBA, the Golden State Warriors utilized the franchise tag on star player Kevin Durant to prevent him from becoming a free agent and eventually signed him to a long-term contract.


According to a recent study, over 50% of NFL teams use the franchise tag on players each year to retain key talent and maintain a competitive roster.


The franchise tag is a valuable tool for sports teams to retain top players, but it also has its drawbacks for both players and organizations. By understanding how the franchise tag works and its impact, fans can better appreciate the complexities of player contracts in professional sports.

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