What is the NFL Franchise Tag and when can Buffalo Bills start using it?

Brandon Beane, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports)
Brandon Beane, Buffalo Bills (Mandatory Credit: Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports) /

The 2022 season came to an official end when the Kansas City Chiefs won Super Bowl 57 over the Philadelphia Eagles. The focus for the Buffalo Bills and every other NFL team now turns to the 2023 season and over the next few months will work to shape their roster to hopefully compete for a Lombardi Trophy next season.

One of the first steps for NFL front offices is to evaluate their roster and the players who are set to be free agents this offseason. These are players whose contracts ended at the end of the 2022 season and will be free to sign with any other NFL team when free agency begins in mid-March.

While teams will be able to negotiate with their own free agents in hopes to bring them back if they can’t re-sign them they do have other options to keep them with the team. One of those options is a franchise tag.

Each NFL team has the option each year to use a franchise tag on one player who is set to be a free agent. This is essentially a one-year, fully guaranteed contract where the salary is determined by the average of the Top 5 salaries at that position.

According to Pro Football Talk, these are the franchise tag salaries for each position:

"Quarterback: $32,416,000Running back: $10,091,000Wide Receiver: $19,743,000Tight end: $11,345,000Offensive line: $18,244,000Defensive end: $19,727,000Defensive tackle: $18,937,000Linebacker: $20,926,000Cornerback: $18,140,000Safety: $14,460,000Kicker/punter: $5,393,000"

As Mike Florio notes, if a team uses a franchise tag on a player that player can still sign an offer sheet with another team. However, if the original team doesn’t match that offer sheet then the new team would have to trade the other team two first round picks.

Will the Buffalo Bills use the franchise tag on any players in 2023?

The Buffalo Bills have historically not used the franchise tag and the last time they did was in 2016 when they used it on left tackle Cordy Glenn. However, this offseason the Bills may consider it for either Jordan Poyer or Tremaine Edmunds.

Both players are excellent and have been key parts of the defense but the challenge will be how the Buffalo Bills would fit the $20+ million salary for Edmunds or the $14+ million salary for Poyer into their salary cap.

All NFL teams will be able to begin using the franchise tag starting on February 21st and will have until March 7th to decide whether or not that is something they wish to use this offseason.

Next. 4 high-risk, high-reward free agents for the Bills. dark