Franchise and Transition player designations were announced today for the 2015 NFL free agency signing period, which begins at 4:00 p.m. ET on March 10.
A club can designate one "franchise" player or one "transition" player among its veteran free agents.
The salary offer by a player's club determines whether the franchise player designation is exclusive or non-exclusive.
An "exclusive" franchise player – not free to sign with another club – is offered the greater of (i) the average of the top five salaries at the player's position for the current year as of the end of the Restricted Free Agent Signing Period on April 24; or (ii) the amount of the Required Tender for a "non-exclusive" franchise player, as explained below.
NFL.com's "Around the NFL" crew has named their top 25 free agents of 2015. Free agency officially begins on March 10.
Article 10, Section 2(a)(i) of the CBA sets forth the methodology, known as the "Cap Percentage Average," for calculating the Required Tender for such a player:
The Nonexclusive Franchise Tender shall be a one year NFL Player Contract for (A) the average of the five largest Prior Year Salaries for players at the position . . . at which the Franchise Player participated in the most plays during the prior League Year, which average shall be calculated by: (1) summing the amounts of the Franchise Tags for players at that position for the five preceding League Years; (2) dividing the resulting amount by the sum of the Salary Caps for the five preceding League Years . . . ; and (3) multiplying the resulting percentage by the Salary Cap for the upcoming League Year . . . (the "Cap Percentage Average") . . . ; or (B) 120% of his Prior Year Salary, whichever is greater . . . .
If a club extends a Required Tender to a non-exclusive franchise player pursuant to this section, the player shall be permitted to negotiate a player contract with any club, except that draft choice compensation of two first-round draft selections shall be made in the event he signs with a new club.
The signing period for franchise players begins at 4:00 p.m. (ET) on March 10 and ends on the Tuesday following the 10th week of the season (November 17).
This year, no player was designated as an exclusive franchise player. The following players were designated as non-exclusive franchise players.
2015 FRANCHISE PLAYERSDallas Cowboys, WR, Dez Bryant
Denver Broncos, WR, Demaryius Thomas
Kansas City Chiefs, LB, Justin Houston
New England Patriots, K, Stephen Gostowski
New York Giants, DE, Jason Pierre-Paul
A transition player is offered the greater of (i) the average of the top 10 prior year salaries at the player's position, which average is calculated using the same methodology used for non-exclusive franchise players (the Cap Percentage Average); or (ii) 120% of his prior year salary.
If a club extends a Required Tender to a transition player, the player shall be permitted to negotiate a contract with any club subject to his prior club's right of first refusal, except that no draft choice compensation shall be made with respect to such player if his prior club declines to exercise its right of first refusal.
The signing period for transition players begins at 4:00 p.m. (ET) on March 10 and ends on July 22. After July 22 and until 4:00p.m. (ET) on the Tuesday following the 10th week of the season (November 17), the prior club has exclusive negotiating rights.
This year, the following player was designated as a transition player.
2015 TRANSITION PLAYER
Miami Dolphins, TE, Charles Clay