NFL teams are tagging their best players on Monday, with the deadline now just hours away.
The deadline is set for 4 p.m. EST on March 1, 2015.
The Kansas City Chiefs tagged linebacker Justin Houston, who led the league in sacks last season with 22.
The Denver Broncos tagged wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, who caught 297 passes over the past three seasons as he built chemistry with Peyton Manning.
Reportedly, the Dallas Cowboys plan to tag receiver Dez Bryant, and the Giants plan to tag defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul.
Among those who will reportedly not be tagged–Ndamukong Suh, the Detroit Lions defensive tackle; and Julius Thomas, the Broncos tight end. Both players could easily end up on different teams as their services will be highly sought.
The purpose of a franchise tag is to try to keep a player within a team, usually to try to prolong negotiations to sign him to a longer deal. Teams can extend a one-year offer to potential free agents, usually worth the average of the top five salaries at the player’s position.
There’s two different types of tags–an exclusive tag, which gives the player a little bit more money but prohibits him from negotiating with other teams; and a non-exclusive tag, which enables the player to negotiate with other teams but if he signs with another team, then the team that tagged him gets two first-round draft picks in compensation.
Players tagged can reach long-term contracts with the team that tags them, but must agree to such a deal by July 15.