A concept completely foreign to Australian fans is the notion of franchise tagging. This tool enables clubs to identify a player of significant value and bind them contractually to that club for one additional season if they happen to enter free agency. The terms and conditions to this tagging is sometimes akin to signing up to a new Apple product, involving partnerships that give both parties certain guarantees and benefits depending on the circumstances.
Such a platform could easily be explored in the AFL, NRL, Super Rugby and A-League should they wish to explore the benefits of the system. For example, a star player in the Australian Football League like former Adelaide Crow’s midfielder Patrick Dangerfield could have been tagged by the South Australian franchise, preventing him from a move to the Geelong Cats and by doing so, giving Dangerfield more room for earnings under the cap. Although the tags are not completely mandatory, the financial reward is so lucrative that only in exceptional cases do players not accept the sizeable deal on the table.
Rather than sitting by and seeing the best talent get sucked up by the biggest clubs in the league, NFL franchises have the ability to tag one individual which puts that athlete in the top bracket of earners for that position. In Dangerfield’s case, he would have been a top 5 earning midfielders in the sport and played for the Crows as opposed to being a top 30 or 40 earner in Victoria. The thinking behind the concept is to reward the clubs for recruiting and developing the best talent, as well as the fans who get emotionally invested in these players.
The same could be said of current stars Greg Inglis at the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Israel Folau at the NSW Waratahs or Aaron Mooy at Melbourne City. All three of the clubs that pay their wages have the financial muscle to tie these marketable footballers to big deals and guarantee that the supporters are not shortchanged. It seems like madness to sit by and see them head off to rival clubs or competitions overseas.
Biggest NFL Franchise Tags of the 2016 Off Season
Barring a turn around from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, high earning running back Doug Martin will be shopping around on free agency as the franchise decided against using their tagging card on the footballer. But 10 other clubs did use their one and only tag, putting to bed the rumours, innuendo and speculation for 10 star NFL athletes.
- Alshon Jeffery – Chicago Bears
The word coming out of Bears HQ from day dot was that the Chicago franchise was willing to do whatever it takes to tie down the wide receiver. The Bears need all the talent in the backfield as they can get and the $14.5 million franchise tender contract is due reward for his productivity.
- Justin Tucker – Baltimore Ravens
Very seldom will a franchise use this option on a kicker, but such is the talent of Justin Tucker the Ravens don’t want him booting the ball down field for anyone else. Deal reported to be in the vicinity of $4.5 million.
- Trumaine Johnson – LA Rams
This is a clever move for the Rams. With their move from St. Louis to Los Angeles completed, it would have been the obvious choice to go after or hold onto a sexier footballer but the cornerback’s 13.9 million contract gives the team some serious solidity on defence.
- Cordy Glen – Buffalo Bills
$13.7 million appears a lot of money to shell out for a good left tackle option, but the Bills base a lot of their success on shutting the opposition offence down as quickly as possible.
- Muhammad Wilkerson – New York Jets
2015 was a good year for the Jets defence, their real issue came at the other end of the field. Wilkerson is one of the best tackling athletes in the game and his $15 million package is worth every penny.
- Oliver Vernon – Miami Dolphins
Other clubs are still free to table offers for the star defensive end, yet the Dolphins are able to see anything given to him and match it outright. Still a lot of speculation over Vernon’s future but the call by Miami to hit him with a transition tag worth $12.7 million means any rival side has to lock him to a long-term deal.
- Eric Berry – Kansas City Chiefs
The cancer survivor is one of the great stories of the NFL and the Chiefs are rightly over the moon to lock the star safety up as soon as contractually possible.
- Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins
Apparently the Washington Redskins do like that! The $19.5 million tag should seal the quarterback’s immediate NFL future in the nation’s capital, ending talk of exploring the open market.
- Von Miller – Denver Broncos
The SB50 MVP outperformed Cam Newton, Peyton Manning and even Beyonce in San Francisco. First time since 2007 a non QB has been tagged by Denver.
- Josh Norman – Carolina Panthers
One of the best cornerbacks in football, the Panthers are looking to tie down Norman to lead the defensive unit into the next 5 seasons. If Cam can fix his game at QB from that horror show, then Carolina will remain formidable.