Today is a very important day on the NFL calendar as it’s the first day that clubs are allowed to designate franchise or transition players. While not every team will use their ability to tag soon-to-be unrestricted free agents, a few will and that includes the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos, as they are sure to tag cornerback Josh Norman and linebacker Von Miller, respectively, at some point in the coming days.
When it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers this offseason, they are not expected to use the franchise or transition tag on any of their several players who are set to hit unrestricted free agency. The Steelers last used a tag back in 2014 on linebacker Jason Worilds. That transition tag, however, never led to a long-term contract and Worilds ultimately decided to retire after the 2014 season was over.
As far as tag possibilities go for the Steelers a year from now, running back Le’Veon Bell seems to be the only legitimate candidate as we sit here today and that’s only if the team is unable to sign him to an extension by the start of the 2016 regular season. The franchise tag amount this year for a running back is expected to be roughly $11.871 million, so one could easily speculate that the number next offseason will exceed that amount. The transition tag, while a lot riskier, could be in play next offseason as well when it comes to Bell. That amount this offseason for a running back is expected to be around $9.5 million. In going that route, however, the Steelers really would stand to lose Bell to another team.
The franchise tag amount is an average of the top five highest paid players at one position. The transition tag amount, however, is the average of the top 10 highest paid players at one position. By using the transition tag, the original team can match any contract offered by another team during free agency. However, if the original team chooses not to match the offer they will not receive any compensation for losing the player.